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Oct 17, 2008

China to Invest US$3.5 Billion in GM Crop R&D and Consumer Education

GMO Compass,a website set up with funding from the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme has reported that China plans to invest US$3.5 billion in gene-modified (GM) food crop development and consumer education. 

This article is based on an article in Science  (Vol 321 dated 5 September 2008) that noted that China "is turning to a transgenic green revolution to secure its food supply." 

As background, China first approved the commercial planting of 4 GE crops in 1997-98.  The first to be authorized was BT cotton followed by GM petunias.  In 1998, approvals were granted for GM tomatoes and GM sweet peppers.   In 2005, approval was granted for GM poplar trees and in 2006, GM papaya.  By 2006, there were 20 other GM crops undergoing testing in 211 experimental field tests.

The Science article quotes Huang Dafang, former director of the Biotechnology Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing as saying that "[a] central aim is to help China catch up with the West in the race to identify and patent plant genes 'of great value' ... Once intellectual property rights are in place, transgenic technology could transform Chinese farming from high-input and extensive cultivation to high-tech and intensive cultivation."

Science also quotes Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao tellling Chinese academics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering that [t]o solve the food problem, we have to rely on big science and technology measures, rely on biotechnology, rely on GM."

For more see:

Stone, Richard. "Plant Science: China Plans $3.5 Billion GM Crops Initiative," Science, 321:5894 (5 September 2008), 1279.

"China plans to invest US$3.5 billion in GM crops R&D and consumer education," GMO Compass, 17 October 2008.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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