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China eyes GMO progress amid crop shrinkage, safety concerns

Research and commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMO) are expected to gain momentum in China after years of GM crop decline amid public safety concerns.

Monday 16 February 2015 (3 years 3 days ago)

Research and commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMO) are expected to gain momentum in China after years of GM crop decline amid public safety concerns.

The "No.1 Central Document of 2015", jointly issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council on Sunday, states clearly that more effort will be put into studying GMOs, supervising their safety and educating the public about them.

China has seen falling agricultural productivity in recent years thanks to surging production costs, shortage of agricultural resources, excessive exploitation and worsening pollution.

The decline has prompted more imported food and raised concerns about future food supply, the document said. Though controversial, the development of the GMO technology has long been considered an effective way to increase yields on marginal lands. China has only 7 percent of the world's arable land but has to feed 22 percent of the world's population.

Currently, only GM cotton and papaya are allowed to be grown commercially in China, with GM staple foods prohibited from being grown.But the country is a major importer of GM farm produce, including soybeans, rapeseed, cotton and corn.China imported more than 71 million tonnes of soybeans in 2014, the bulk of which were GMOs.

China encourages its scientists to grasp the "commanding heights" of GMO technologies, Han said.

Friday February 6, 2015/ MOA/ China.
http://english.agri.gov.cn

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