Legal GMO plantings in China expected soon

Biotech corn seed is illegal to plant in China. But it’s likely already in use.

Chinese media have run reports of widespread plantings of genetically modified corn seed in northeast China, and U.S. agricultural experts acknowledge that it’s happening. It’s hardly a surprise. After all, South American farmers planted biotech soybean seed long before it was allowed.

It also suggests the government will eventually approve the use of biotech seeds, which are big business for DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, Stine Seed and other U.S. seed companies.

Many experts believe Chinese officials will eventually approve the planting of GM corn, but they’re waiting to ensure domestic seed companies can compete with foreign ones. “They definitely want to see locally developed biotechnology innovations brought to market,” said Bill Niebur, head of Pioneer’s operations in China.

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Niebur said he believes biotech corn and soybean seeds will be in use by the end of the decade. David Liu of Gansu Hengji Seed Co., a Chinese seed company working with Stine Seed in Adel, says his best guess is 2018. He said that would be the best time politically, because President Xi Jinping, a biotech supporter, will be in his second term.

“There’s no doubt it’s the future of agriculture,” Liu said.

Read full, original article: Feeding China: Chinese wary of biotech seed

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