January 22, 2020


China moves closer to commercialisation of local GM corn, soybean


China's agriculture ministry issued biosafety certificates on Tuesday for domestically grown, genetically modified (GM) corn and soybean traits, paving the way to commercialisation of GM grain in the world's top market, Reuters reported.


Two of the certificates, valid from December 2, 2019 till December 2, 2024, were granted to a corn trait developed by Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd and a double-stacked corn product developed by Hangzhou Ruifeng Biotech Co Ltd and Zhejiang University.


The ministry announced late December that it planned to issue the certificates, pending public comment.


China granted biosafety certificates to its first GM corn varieties in 2009, but never allowed them to reach the market in part because of widespread public opposition to the technology.


However, the government is targeting commercialisation of GM corn and soybean by 2020. It has long allowed the products to be imported as livestock feed.


The newly-approved corn traits, resistant to pests and herbicide, could boost farmers' productivity by deterring common insect pests, including the recently arrived fall armyworm.


Beijing warned late last year that fall armyworm is expected to affect more crops across wider areas in 2020, not sparring the main corn-growing region in the northeast.