- Seeking to be independent of foreign agriculture, China is now exploring the possibility of GMOs.
- Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said that China will promote scientific research and development of genetically modified food to meet its grain needs. “We can’t have such techniques monopolized by others,” he said.
- The government will step up its supervision of GMO products and crack down on any illegal production of GMO seeds, he said.
With a fifth of the entire world population and only one seventh of its arable land, China has a food problem. Adopting GMO technology may be the only way for it to become self-sustaining with respect to grain. It is somewhat ironic that they are going this route now, launching a marketing campaign to sell the idea when just last year it rejected American grain on the ground that it violated its ban on GMOs. In truth, there is no scientific proof that GMOs are harmful, but public perception is a powerful thing, as we've seen in the pressure on food companies and even coffee bars to offer non-GMO products.
In an interesting side note, the FBI has apprehended six men for their connection with an alleged plot to steal GMO seeds and send them to China.