January 12, 2021 

China plans to approve more domestic varieties of GMO corn and soy crops


China plans to approve the safety of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd's genetically modified (GMO) corn variety and GMO soybean, Reuters reported.


This follows the approval of three domestically designed GMO crops as safe in a push towards commercial planting of GMO crops. The approval last year was the first in 10 years.


China has prohibited the planting of GMO corn or soybean but allows their import for use as livestock feed.


However, the government said it wanted to support biotech breeding to boost its national food security, resulting in industry expectations of commercialisation this year.


The public can comment on the GMO corn variety and GMO soybean safety approval by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs until February 1, 2021.


The GMO soybean, known as DBN9004, is glufosate and glufosinate-resistant and has been approved as safe in Argentina.


The GMO corn variety, known as DBN9501, is resistant to the fall armyworm pest which affected China's cornbelt region in 2020.


While there are more steps to be taken before China's farmers will be allowed to plant the GMO crops, the approval by the ministry is seen as timely as the country faces a growing corn deficit.


Mao Yifan, an analyst at Industrial Securities, said the GMO crops will increase production efficiency.


China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs had also approved two new GMO corn varieties for import. These are Bayer's Crop Science unit's glyphosate-resistant and insect-resistant MON87411 and Syngenta's MZIR098, which successfully combats corn rootworm.


Syngenta is a unit of China's state-owned ChemChina.


- Reuters