CHINA- China has given its nod to cultivating dozens of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybean seed varieties to enhance domestic crop production and reduce reliance on global grain imports. 

This decision comes as part of the government’s broader agenda to achieve food self-sufficiency and security, a top priority for President Xi Jinping.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the large-scale promotion of GM crops aligns with President Xi’s push to ensure the country’s food self-sufficiency and security. 

A national committee established by the agriculture ministry has greenlit the use of 37 GM corn seed and 14 soybean seed varieties for planting to facilitate this goal.

The journey towards adopting GM crops in China began in 2021 when the country initiated a pilot program for commercially cultivating GM corn and soybean crops. 

Since then, this trial has expanded to encompass 20 counties across five provinces, including key grain-producing regions such as Hebei and Jilin.

It is important to note that, despite the authorization of GM crops, the land area designated for planting these modified seeds remains relatively limited. This year, only 4 million mu (equivalent to 267,000 hectares) have been allocated for GM crop cultivation. 

The agriculture ministry believes that GM seeds could increase crop yields in China by as much as 12%.

This development represents a significant step in China’s pursuit of food self-sufficiency, which has gained prominence due to concerns about global food security and trade disruptions. 

By approving these GM varieties, the Chinese government is making strides toward securing its food supply and reducing dependence on international grain imports.

The move is expected to have far-reaching implications for China’s agricultural landscape and its ability to meet its growing population’s food needs while mitigating food security risks. 

As the adoption of GM crops continues to expand, it will be interesting to observe the impact on China’s crop yields and food production in the years to come.

Meanwhile, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture, China is forecasted to import a record volume of soybeans in 2022-23, although an increase in domestic production could dampen totals in the 2023-24 marketing year.