China will further expand the scope of its trial of the industrial application of genetically modified (GM) corn and soybeans, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said recently.
Recently, Reuters reported China would likely plant 4 million mu (267,000 hectares or 660,000 acres) of genetically modified corn strains this year as part of a large-scale trial, citing two industry sources with knowledge of the plans.
China has studied GM food crops for decades but has not approved them for commercial release due to opposition to the technology. However, their usage has been increasingly supported by the central government amid a national drive for greater self-sufficiency in the country’s key food supplies.
Building on the central government’s recent rural policy blueprint, known as the “No. 1 Document”, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs stated its intention to “anchor the goal of building a powerful agricultural country” and “ensure national food security”.
China’s corn fields yield only about 60% as much corn on average as in the top producer the United States, where GM corn makes up more than 90% of the crop.
In addition to the trial of the genetically modified crops, China will stabilize soybean acreage by all means available, the ministry said.