GM technology will boost China’s ‘food security’ amid import fears

The Communist Party’s Economic Work Conference outlines plans to increase crop production

China plans to use advanced GM technology to boost food security. 

The sheer size of the 1.4 million population means the country has become over-reliant on imported produce from grain to grapes, the annual Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing was told.

To combat this, Communist Party leaders have decided to address the shortage by commercializing genetically modified crops without mentioning GM specifically.

In the past five years, the world’s second-largest economy has invested billions of dollars in GM research and development. Last year, it issued biosafety certificates for certain strains of crops.

The facts:

  • The production of food has become a major priority for the CCP leadership, according to the Central Economic Work Conference. 
  • An “industrial food belt” will be outlined to safeguard national security.
  • Research will be stepped up to develop technological solutions for the “seed sector.”
  • Improved efficiency will be promoted or accelerated in China.

What the state-run Xinhua News Agency said: “The key to ensuring food security lies in implementing the strategy of storing grain in the ground and storing grain in technology.

Reaction to the news: “With the combination of the arrival of genetically-modified corn strains at the end of 2019 and the significant increase in corn prices, [GM crops] will improve efficiency,” Mao Yifan, an analyst at Industrial Securities in Shanghai, said.

China Factor comment: GM has become a big deal to the ruling Communist Party, particularly in the past two years. Deteriorating relations with the United States and other exporting food nations has illustrated Beijing’s soft underbelly. Boosting food production has become a key target for President Xi Jinping’s government.