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China's Minister of Agriculture Endorses GMOs

China's Minister of Agriculture Endorses GMOs

10 March 2014

CHINA - Genetically modified organisms “are good, they help to defend the crops from pests and do not cause any harm. I eat them regularly,” says the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu commenting during the ongoing National People’s Congress in Beijing.

The minister’s statements “clear the way” for the use of GMOs – a much debated issue in the rest of the world – in farming nationwide in China, reports Asia News.

Currently, China only allows the use of GMOs in cotton and papaya crops. But in fact many other agricultural products - above all soybeans - are imported from the United States, Brazil and Argentina. All nations who use GMOs in cultivation. Han explained that "agricultural technology is a new concept for many people, so it is understandable that they are scared or worried. But it is time that people know and accept this reality."

According to the proponents of this technology, the use of GMO agricultural products improves growth and actually eliminates the need for pesticides. According to its critics, however, genetic modification is too invasive and eliminates the nutritional properties of plants and represents a potential risk to consumers.

In China, where the scandals related to food production are the order of the day, the question is even more pressing due to the rapid urbanization of the country, leading to the forced expropriation of agricultural land and consequent massive social protests.

The minister also addressed this issue: "The transfer of agricultural land should be regulated by law, carried out on a voluntary basis and appropriately compensated. It should be clear that we have farmers, not party officials, at heart".

The reference is ??to the illegal sale of land by communist cadres, who surrender land to investors without the consent of the local population and without the compensation provided by law.

The central government is aware of the problem, and they are afraid of developments that could jeopardize their hold on power. Opening the twelfth session of the National People's Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed that the "primary objective" is to ensure food security in China.

"We will improve the quality of cultivated land, we will increase the production capacity and will ensure self- sufficiency in cereals. In this way, we will have full control of food supply needed by the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens," the Chinese Premier said.


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