April 16, 2016


China plans to grow GM corn



China plans to push for the commercial cultivation of pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) corn over the next five years.


During a press conference held on Wednesday, April 13, Liao Xiyuan, the director general of the Department of Science, Technology and Education, said the country was considering to include this move in the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20).


"We will push forward industry strategies that emphasise commercial crops and crops that serve as industrial raw materials during the 13th Five-Year period," he said.


Liao added that China could not afford to be left behind in the GM sector and that it would continue to push forward with its independent innovation efforts.


China, however, is giving priority to the development of non-edible cash crops. Liao said that next in line would be the indirectly edible and then edible crops, reflecting China's prudent attitude to GM crops.


"China's safety evaluation system on genetically modified crops is the world's strictest in terms of technical standards and procedures," said Wu Kongming, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and GMO expert, who also attended the press conference.


Meanwhile, Liao said the Ministry of Agriculture has set up measures to prevent unauthorized GM seeds from flowing into the markets, following a report from the environmental organisation Greenpeace in January that farmers were illegally growing genetically modified corn in northeastern China.


China's agricultural authorities have to approve GM grains before they are marketed, with only domestic GM papaya and cotton having been approved so far for commercial cultivation.

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