China is looking at growing more food in the laboratory as a way to meet the demands of feeding its huge population.
The China Cellular Agriculture Forum – a new cultivated meat industry association – held its first event last week with approximately 30 companies within the sector attending.
Top of the agenda was the creation of a sustainable, secure animal protein future in China using cellular agriculture.
China is the world’s largest consumer of meat by volume – and with a growing middle class and higher disposable incomes, demand is expected to grow.
At present, the average person in China consumes 49.3 kilograms of pork, poultry, and beef combined annually.
The African Swine Fever outbreak in China in 2019, which wiped out a quarter of the country’s pork meat supply, set alarm bells ringing in Beijing over food security.
In addition to home-bred cultivated meat concerns CellX, Avant Meats and Joes Future Food, a number of international companies attended the forum, including Israel’s Aleph Farms and SuperMeat, Californian pioneers Upside Foods and BlueNalu, Singapore’s TurtleTree Labs, and the Netherlands’ Mosa Meat.
Food law expert Wilfred Feng told delegates that the Chinese government had indicated it was open to and supportive of new cultivated technology.
Chinese President Xi has publicly suggested that being constrained by conventional protein sources is no longer a viable plan for China, specifically mentioning biotech and plant sources as solutions.
Agriculture, meanwhile, has provided a bridge for better relationships between the United States and China.
The United States Heartland China Association and the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange have
signed a memorandum of understanding in which they have agreed to support an annual US-China agricultural dialogue.
“We are really excited to see long-term commitment from both
associations to carry forward the legacy of agricultural collaboration for the benefit of both countries and our world,” said Min Fan, executive director of US Heartland China, after the two sides met in Iowa for talks.
Chen Xiaojia, president of the China Agricultural Association for International Exchange, said his organisation will work with its partner “to provide better service to industrial communication and creating business opportunities between the two countries”.
China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang attended the event.
“Coming to Iowa gives me great opportunity to see for myself the farmland soil and have hands-on experience of the down-to-earth and refreshing farm work here,” he said.
The value of agricultural exports by the US to China last year was more than $33 billion, compared with the previous record of $25 billion, according to official US figures.
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