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China to Embrace GM Soybeans as it Modernizes Ag Sector

To date, China has approved GM technology for cotton but has yet to approve bioengineered food crops due to perceived consumer prejudices.

However, with an aim to overhaul and modernize its agricultural sector, the Chinese government has specified in its latest five-year plan for science and technology to 2020, that its will work to develop GM soybeans for food production and animal feed, as well as GM corn.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that China will produce 12.5 million tons of soybeans in 2016/17 and will import a record breaking 86 million tons. Despite this heavy dependence on imports, there is expected to be strong push-back against the acceptance of GM soybeans from both consumers and an industry that can sell its GM-free soybeans at a premium.

The acceptance of GM corn is expected to come easier as corn in China is mainly used as animal feed and to produce starches and sweeteners.

For more on this topic, listen to the August 11th edition of Marketplace, featuring comments from Philippe de Lapérouse, chair of the Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit here. The story starts at 11:30.

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