(Yicai Global) March 7 -- Genetically-modified organism (GMO) technology is the extension of traditional seed techniques, and its safety is manageable and guaranteed, Zhang Taolin, China's vice minister for agriculture, said today at the meeting of the National People's Congress.
China supports innovation of GMO technology, remains prudent about its application, and adopts strict regulation to ensure its safety, he stressed. China has not yet approved the commercial planting of any GMO crop, but launched a key research project on GMO technology in 2008. The project is expected to wrap up in 15 years, and investment is set to reach CNY24 billion, with CNY12 billion from the government.
The project focuses on research into both plants and animals, including rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, pigs, cattle and sheep. China follows authoritative and internationally-recognized evaluation standards and norms when assessing the safety of GMO technology, Zhang noted. China has also formulated laws, regulations, technical rules and regulatory systems by drawing on the practices of the US and the EU, but factoring in its own domestic situation.
The agriculture ministry is actively and steadily promoting the development of GMO technology and has road mapped the path of 'inedible→ indirectly eaten→ edible,' Zhang added. China will first develop inedible cash crops, followed by feed crops and processed raw material crops before finally developing edible crops. Being highly responsible to the people, the agriculture ministry will actively study GMO technology, apply it with prudence and regulate it strictly to promote the research and stable and healthy development of such technology to let it better serve the people, Zhang pledged.