China Pushing More Genetically Modified Crops

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 1:20am.

In approving a master plan for transgenic crops late on Wednesday, the State Council said it aimed to shore up the country's sustainable agricultural development, Xinhua news agency reported.

The cabinet also urged relevant authorities to "waste no time to implement the programme and understand the importance and urgency of the programme".

China is already the world's largest grower of genetically modified cotton. The Xinhua report gave few details of the plan, including which GMO crops the government will promote. "It is a policy signal in supporting GMO crops" after many years of research and testing, Huang Dafang, a researcher with Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told Reuters on Thursday.

"I think the sensitive issue such as (commercial use of) GMO rice will come back to the agenda again."

The programme aims to develop high-quality, high-yield and pest-resistant genetically modified new species, Xinhua said, citing the cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The cabinet last week approved a long-term grain output blueprint, which aims to increase grain production to more than 540 million tonnes annually by 2020 so it can be 95 percent self-sufficient in feeding the country's growing population of more than 1.3 billion people.

But analysts say that because China's arable land is shrinking every year due to industralization, the country has no option but to turn to genetic modification technology to increase yields.

"GMO technology is the only solution right now for the country to raise yield and reduce use of pesticide, which is harmful for the environment," said Huang.

China aims to produce 500 million tonnes of grain a year by 2010, but demand -- estimated at 518 million tonnes this year -- is projected to outstrip the pace of grain output.

Still, China will likely not have to import grain in the next year or two because it has ample grain reserves.

July 14, 2008 - source Reuters

Read the lables!  Considering all of the junk they send here, I won't be eating that food! ~ SadInAmerica

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 1:20am.