China will promote the planting of genetically modified crops over the next five years to 2015,Caijing Magazine’swebsite March 13 cited a senior agricultural official as saying.
Chen Mengshan, the Agriculture Ministry’s chief economist, gave no further details, according to the report carried on www.caijing.com.cn.
China is the largest producer of GMO cotton, but it has been much more cautious about accepting GMO food than some other producers, such as the United States.
In 2009 the Ministry of Agriculture’s biosafety committee gave the first safety approval for GMO strains of rice and corn, paving the way for a large-scale commercial production of those GMO strains within two to three years.
But the approval has caused controversy in the country about whether the GMO strain of rice, the staple food for 1.3 billion people, is safe.
A Chinese researcher said last week that China’s first strain of genetically modified corn was facing policy deadlock and may take years before it can be planted.