29 December 2023, China: To facilitate the commercial planting of genetically modified crops, China has granted licenses to 26 domestic seed companies to produce, market, and sell genetically modified maize and soybean seeds in specific areas.
China National Seed, which is currently owned by Syngenta Group, and Beijing Dabeinong Technology are among the businesses that were included in a notification released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Monday.
Most business that have been granted GM permissions are operating in major grain-producing provinces of Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, and Inner Mongolia.
According to a statement released by the GLOCON Agritech Co-Innovation Institute, these businesses are the first in China to be granted licenses for the production of GMO corn and soybean seeds as well as for their operations.
Despite being wary of GMO technology, Beijing has been gradually opening up the industry. Since 2019, it has authorized over a dozen genetic changes in various crops.
The nation that purchases the most corn and soybeans worldwide seeks to lessen its dependency on imports, which exceed more than 100 million metric tons annually, to feed its cattle.
Commercial GMO planting will increase yields but may also sharply reduce future imports from Brazil and the US.
Chinese maize breeders are getting ready to plant approximately 670,000 hectares of genetically modified corn in eight provinces next year, more than twice as much as would be planted in 2023.
Still, Beijing is anticipated to exercise strict supervision over the introduction of GMOs. This year saw extensive testing of genetically modified soy and corn, which the agricultural ministry reported produced “outstanding” results and demonstrated the safety and necessity of the technology.
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