Entrepreneur and seed industry leader Harry S. Stine spoke as a delegate and guest at the 16th annual China Development Forum (CDF) in March in Beijing. The CDF has served as the bridge for constructive dialogues between China and the world for 16 years. This year more than 100 global business leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars and government officials participated in three days of discussions with Chinese government leaders about major issues involving worldwide and Chinese economic growth.
Stine was the only foreign presenter on a panel discussion entitled “Who Will Feed China?” Other panelists included Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group; Ning Gaoning, chairman of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO); Dr. Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute based in Washington, D.C.; and Qian Keming, chief economist of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.
During his time in China, Stine had the opportunity to meet with both Chen Xiwen and Han Jun of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group. Han also is the vice minister of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss innovative means to share Stine’s seed technologies and high-population corn production systems with Chinese farmers and their seed industry.
Stine’s plant breeding programs are so unique that the Chinese seed industry and their leaders have requested additional exchange and development opportunities. These opportunities would take place between Stine Seed Company, Iowa and U.S. business and educational entities, along with leading national and local Chinese government and private sector groups and leaders.
Stine, with the assistance of Li Zhao, president and CEO of the Des Moines, Iowa, based China Iowa Group, has been hosting multiple Chinese government, farm and agricultural leaders for more than five years. Stine’s willingness to share his insights and knowledge are especially appreciated by the Chinese. This willingness and his interest in China led to this unique invitation to participate in the CDF.
Stine Seed Company’s elite germplasm and innovative technologies have led to significant gains in soybean and corn yields, including the development of new high-population production systems that maximize yield potential for farmers. The ability of the Chinese to “leap-frog” into these new systems was quickly recognized by Chinese leaders, as they are uniquely compatible with the Chinese initiative entitled the “New Normal.” Chinese leaders are viewing these technologies as one of many opportunities to increase foreign investment while deemphasizing the “Old Normal.”
The “Old Normal” enabled China to become a leading industrial economy, growing their economy extensively while lifting many Chinese out of poverty, all in less than 35 years. Frequently, this led to problems and much skepticism from others outside China. The “New Normal,” however, is intended to reduce the hand of the Chinese government while improving the rule of law, approving greater levels of foreign investment and depending much more on the role of the market to allocate resources.
Because of Stine’s insight and appreciation for these many changes, he has been recognized by the Chinese seed industry and government as one of the potential transformative partners designed to play a role in these new agricultural initiatives. Stine stated, “The Chinese people are smart, work hard and deserve the opportunities being presented in the ‘New Normal.’ If they proceed down this path, we are delighted to work with them and look forward to a bright future.”