Genetically modified corn and soybean involved in a pilot program have
obtained safety certificates for production and application after an
assessment of food and environmental safety that lasted nearly 10 years.
"The application of traits that resist pests and tolerate herbicides and
drought has improved the competitiveness of genetically modified crops,
such as corn and soybean, in production cost, price and quality," Qian
Qian, director of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences'
Institute of Crop Sciences, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.
Li Xiangju, a researcher at the academy's Institute of Plant Protection,
said the results of the pilot program show that the GM soybean varieties
perform better as only one spray of herbicide can achieve over 95
percent of the weeding for those varieties.
The effect of GM corn varieties on the fall army worm, a major threat to
crops, reached 85 to 95 percent without the use of pesticides, Li said.
The pilot project found that GM soybean can reduce weeding costs by 50
percent and increase yields by 12 percent, while GM corn can see yield
increases of 6.7 to 10.7 percent.
Liu Biao, a researcher at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment's
Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, said the GM corn and
soybean in the pilot program had no negative effects on beneficial
insects and soil quality.
"The decreased use of pesticides on GM corn boosts ecological and
environmental safety," Liu said, adding that using the same herbicide on
GM soybean and corn can help intercropping and rotation of the two crops.
Last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs launched pilot
industrialization projects for genetically modified soybean and corn.
Liu Peilei, an official with the ministry, said the achievements in the
pilot program mark China's move into the industrialization of GM corn
"Promoting the industrialization of GM corn and soybean will break the
bottleneck of agricultural production," Liu said at a news conference
Liu said the GM soybean and corn have excellent traits and can compete
with similar overseas products. Four GM corn varieties and three GM
soybean varieties have obtained safety certificates for production and
Xie Daoxin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a
professor at Tsinghua University, said that since the first commercial
planting of genetically modified crops in 1996, the area planted with
them globally has increased to 190 million hectares.
The types of GM crops have expanded to 32 species including potatoes,
eggplants and apples. In 2019, 74 percent of soybeans, 31 percent of
corn, and 79 percent of cotton grown around the world were genetically
modified, Xie told Xinhua.
GM crops are currently grown commercially in 71 countries and regions.
Huang Jikun, also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and
a professor at Peking University, said the United States, Brazil and
Argentina are the top three countries in terms of planting areas of GM
China produced 19.6 million metric tons of soybean last year while
importing 100.3 million tons, according to the General Administration of
Cao Xiaofeng, another academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
said the competition for genetic resources is becoming increasingly fierce.
"Countries and multinational companies are ramping up efforts to carry
out research and development of gene function and genetic diversity
while utilizing the crops," Cao said.
GM corn, soybean earn safety approval after pilot program -