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Sinochem: Focuses on Its 4S Strategy of Seed Coating Development Based on Created Compounds and Patented Technologyqrcode

Oct. 15, 2020

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Oct. 15, 2020

The Chinese seed coating industry started later than other agriculturally developed countries but has developed rapidly. In 2019, the market value of seed treatment was about RMB2.85 billion, accounting for 6% of the total market value of the Chinese pesticide market in 2019, growing from 1.3% in 2000. 


In this market, there is an active player - Sinochem International Crop Care Co., Ltd. (Sinochem), which is committed to improving the value of seeds in an all-round way by providing a whole range of innovative, cost-effective seed treatment solutions, to help increase the crop yield and the income of farmers. The seed treatment agent business of Sinochem covers the pesticide research & development, production, sales and service. Based on the two “treasures” of created compounds and patented technology, the company is able to accomplish the integration of research, production and marketing, and achieve breakthroughs in all technically critical links. Recently, AgroPages took an interview with Han Xiang, general manager of Seed Coating department of Sinochem, who explained comprehensively and systematically the development status of China’s seed treatment industry and the development plan for the seed coating business of the company.


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Han Xiang

General manager of Seed Coating department of Sinochem


In your opinion what are the main drivers to the growth of the seed treatment industry?


As the saying goes, “grain is basics, seed is foundation”. Grain production has always been one of the key issues of discussion in Chinese agriculture. Similarly, seed treatment is closely associated with the development of seed and seed industry.


According to the National Planting Structure Plan (2016-2020), China's crop planting area in 2020 is about 116 million hectares, where the overall supply of seeds is sufficient while the oversupply situation will not change. The planting area generally remains stable, but the main grain planting area with coated seeds is still below 50% of the total planting area, which shows the market potential of seed coating business. China has a large number of seed companies, which are mostly small and medium. With the release of a variety of production regulations and seed industry reform policies, the industry entry level is constantly elevated, whilst mergers and acquisitions are encouraged. Hence, the number of seed industry players is significantly reduced and the market has become more centralized. To improve the quality of seeds, seed companies are obliged to pay more attention and invest in seed coating and selection of seed coating agents to create high-quality and high-yield seed products to take their place in the new seed industry in the future.


Moreover, in recent years, the Chinese government has enhanced environmental compliance regulation. Under the circumstance, the seed coating agent, which is a kind of precision application and environmentfriendly application, not only plays the role of a pesticide which reduces pesticide use and increases efficiency, but also improves the quality and yield of crops. The use of these kinds of seeds complies well with the expectations of the government, the seed industry and farmers. It is expected that the seed treatment market value in China will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6%, which will drive the rapid development of its seed treatment industry.


What are the current bottlenecks that are difficult to break through in terms of seed treatment technology and application?


In the course of seed treatment development, farmers and seed companies have different considerations as regards to technical requirements and seed treatment products. The impact from different crop-planting structures and modes, the changes in the occurrence of soil-borne and seed-borne diseases and insect pests are all drivers to promote seed companies to innovate and meet the market needs. There are changes in planting and crop harvesting modes. With the market changing constantly, problems are also changing, and these changes need to be tackled at any time while the industry is developing and advancing. For example, with farmer’s deepened understanding of seed treatment, the requirement for safety, efficiency and functionality of a seed coating agent is constantly increasing. 


Seed treatment companies not only need to undertake to meet the requirement of germination and pest control but also need to make adaptations to the requirement of crop stress resistance, quality improvement and yield increase. In recent years, biological seed treatment products have emerged. A variety of nutrients and biostimulants have begun to be included in seed treatment agents, whilst a large number of multiple product mixes have appeared. Nevertheless, the difficulty still exists in the development of slow-release products to enable a long-lasting effect, active ingredients or mixed product use to deal with tough soil-borne and seed-borne diseases (such as corn stalk rot and wheat stalk rot). However, training for farmers and updated training on seed coating technology is still weak. These are aspects which require joint efforts by companies and institutions. So, this kind of collaboration is an inevitable trend of industry development going forward.


What are the features of the Chinese seed treatment market? What is the status quo of seed treatment technology and product development at present?


The Chinese seed coating industry started later than other agriculturally developed countries but has developed rapidly. In 2019, the market value of seed treatment was about Yuan2.85 billion, accounting for 6% of the total market value of the Chinese pesticide market in 2019, growing from 1.3% in 2000. In addition to the application to corn and wheat, application of seed treatment agents to rice, soybean, potato and peanut is also growing rapidly. At the same time, on top of conventional seed coating and seed dressing applications, new application methods of seed treatment agents, including root irrigation, root dipping and ditch spraying, have also emerged one after another, showing great application potentials. 


A seed treatment agent is still a hot product in pesticide registration in China. The type of formulation is developing towards seed treatment suspension concentrate, whilst performance is developing towards lowtoxicity and multi-function. Multinational companies mostly develop seed coating products based upon their technicals while Chinese companies are mainly imitating. What Sinochem is doing is to combine imitation and innovation according to our own features to develop seed coating agent. We combine the self-developed compound such as fenaminstrobin with the off-patent thiamethoxam and the fungicidal compound difenoconazole, having created a masterpiece wheat seed treatment agent - Tengshou.


Please provide a brief of the seed treatment business and future development goal of Sinochem. According to your 2019 financial report, your seed coating agent experienced an explosive sales growth. Please brief us on your sales performance and major market.


The seed treatment business of Sinochem covers pesticide research and development, production, sales and service, having successively released 21 seed coating products. The product portfolio not only includes the seed coating agent Tengshou which contains our created compound fenaminstrobin but also encompasses various seed coating agents such as insecticidal, fungicidal, insecticidal-fungicidal mixtures. The applications as registered cover corn, wheat, cotton, rice, soybean, potato and peanut. Via the innovative, complete and cost-effective seed treatment solutions, we take care of crops beginning from seed germination to crop growth to provide seeds with added value. A Chinese flagship seed treatment brand has been established, which is highly recognized by seed companies and farmers.


Please use the example of your wheat seed coating agent Tengshou launched two years ago to illustrate the conception and superiority of Sinochem in respect of seed coating development and product innovation.


Sinochem possesses two “treasures” – created compound and patented technology, which have enabled integration of research, production and marketing as well as achievement of breakthroughs in various technical developments.


In terms of product innovation, Shenyang Sinochem Agrochemicals R&D Co., Ltd (formerly Pesticide Research Institute of Shenyang Research Institute of Chemical Industry) acts as a distinctive platform of research and development of seed coating agent, which is a strong backup for the subsequent product development, having created the precedent efficient and safe seed coating agent Tengshou. Meanwhile, technical breakthroughs in key adjuvant development have been achieved, having successfully developed an industrialized patented film-forming agent. In addition to the satisfactory control effect of the seed treatment product of Sinochem, the seed treatment product is of shorter film-forming time, lower coating falloff rate and good coating uniformity. In the meantime, due to the good water and air permeability, the product brings about a higher seed germination rate, which ensures the application results of the product. While Sinochem lays stress on environmental protection to ensure clean production up to standard, the company has installed key testing equipment to meet the physiochemical and safety testing requirement on seed coating agent, which allows for testing of product quality in a standard laboratory to ensure that each batch of the product be subjected to strict quality inspection, thus to make sure that the exworks products meet the national standard.


What is the future orientation of seed treatment development of Sinochem? What will be the new releases coming up next?


Going forward, Sinochem will focus on its 4S Strategy of seed coating development to provide innovative, complete and cost-effective seed treatment solutions to achieve all-round care of seeds, which will provide seeds with an overall added value:


-Solution: Sinochem will focus on filling up the gap of products and tackling the tough issues of prevention and control; stressing on the efficacy and safety of solutions; emphasizing on solutions to seedborne and soil-borne diseases and insect pests via compound mixture and expansion, development of a new product in the aspects of ingredients, film-forming and stress-resistant bioactive substances. 


-Save: Sinochem will continue optimization of production process and formula to improve quality; pay attention to customer needs to provide cost-effective solutions to help the seed industry and primary growers to improve quality, reduce the amount of use and save cost. 


-Service: Sinochem will provide the customer with comprehensive value-added services to shape a seed service pattern of “coating agent+” based all-round service. 


-Synergy: Sinochem will continue strengthening of internal and external cooperation and industrial collaboration to build the strongest seed service platform in China.


In your opinion, what are the prospects of the Chinese seed treatment market?


In early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic triggered a danger to the global food supply. Food security has become a subject of great concern among the entire society. Meanwhile, the report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress places rural revitalization in a position of national strategy, which provides Chinese agricultural development with an opportunity of historic significance. As an important part of grain production, seed treatment not only controls a variety of soil-borne, seedborne diseases and insect pests in the course of seed germination but also improves seed’s stress resistance and seed’s activity, which will lay a solid foundation for agricultural harvesting and farmers' yield income. As an environment-friendly and precise pesticide application means, seed treatment also meets the nation’s quality farming and green development requirements. As you can see, there is great potential in seed treatment in the future.


About Sinochem International Crop Care


QQ图片20201015090110.pngThe seed treatment business of Sinochem International Crop Care covers pesticide research and development, production, sales and service, having successively released 21 seed coating products. The product portfolio not only includes the seed coating agent Tengshou which contains our created compound fenaminstrobin but also encompasses various seed coating agents such as insecticidal, fungicidal, insecticidalfungicidal mixtures. The company registered many products for used on corn, wheat, cotton, rice, soybean, potato and peanut, etc. By providing innovative, cost-effective and complete seed treatment solutions, we can realize all-round seed care and enhance the value of seeds.


This article was initially published in AgroPages '2020 Market Insight' magazine. Download it to read more articles.

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