GE Rice in China

Farmer Gene

This week, Singularity Hub writes about

Genetically modified or genetically engineered (GE) rice in China.

“China grows a lot of rice – about 60 million tonnes a year. It also consumes most of that, only exporting around 1% of its crop. So, high demand for production with little fear of export restrictions? Sounds like a recipe for genetic modification. According to Reuters, China recently approved the commercial use of genetically modified rice and corn to be phased in probably within the next two to three years. Both strains of GM grains were created locally. Huazhong Agricultural University developed Bt rice, which contains proteins from Bacillius thuringiensis bacteria that allow it to resist the rice stem borer, a major pest in China. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences likewise developed phytase corn which helps livestock more easily absorb necessary phosphorus from feed. Experts believe that widespread adoption of the GM rice in China may lead to an 80% reduction in pesticide use, and an 8% increase in crop yield. More food, less pollution. With a promise like that, we could see GM rice spread from China to the rest of the world.”

“The short term benefits for China could be enormous. Most of the country’s rice is grown on small farms, and these local farmers are exposed to a variety of pesticides to maintain their crops. Bt rice will drastically reduce the amount of needed pesticides and may relieve the need to flood fields. (Flooding is partially used to reduce the prevalence of parasites.) Phytase corn will not only allow livestock to more easily receive needed nutrients from feed, it will eliminate some of the phosphorus waste present in pig and cow manure.”

If you’d like to know more about feeding the world you might be interested in, The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), along with BIO, the Council for Biotechnology Information and CropLife International, will host a special “Town Hall Meeting” to promote and discuss the release of CAST’s first publication of the new year, Agricultural Productivity Strategies for the Future: Addressing U.S. and Global Challenges (Issue Paper 45)

The event will take place on Friday, February 12 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

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