GMOs

THE GMO SCRAPBOOK: CHINA PULLS THE PLUG ON GMO RICE AND CORN RESEARCH

September 8, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

There's more international news about GMOs, and it's another significant blow at GMOs. China has not renewed licenses on strains of GMO rice and GMO corn for research:

China pulls plug on genetically modified rice and corn

Here's the keystone of the article's arch:

"Why the ministry allowed the certificates to lapse is in dispute. Some environmentalists say public worries about GM crops played a decisive role. "We believe that loopholes in assessing and monitoring [GM] research, as well as the public concern around safety issues are the most important reasons that the certifications have not been renewed," writes Wang Jing, a Greenpeace official based in Beijing, in an e-mail to ScienceInsider.

"Others believe agricultural economics also influenced the decision. China has nearly reached self-sufficiency in producing rice using conventional varieties, so the ministry has decided there is no need to commercialize Bt rice in the near future, says Huang Jikun, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy. He says that with commercialization off the table, there was no point in renewing the certifications. Huang says "rising public concerns [about the] safety of GM rice" likely also played a role.

"Whatever the reason, the decision marks an abrupt change in fortunes for transgenic rice in China. Five years ago, "China was widely expected to soon put GM rice on the country’s dining tables," wrote Cao Cong, a China policy expert at University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, in a post on The Conversation, an Australian website. The Bt rice project "is now to all intents and purposes dead and buried," he wrote, blaming an "anti-GM movement whose power and influence are more than matched by its fervour and sheer, undiluted paranoia.'"

Now, reading between the lines a bit, the article is maintaining that the Chinese government is (1) bowing to popular concerns about GMO safety issues and concerns, and (2) has attained self-sufficiency in rice production by not using GMO rice. The latter implication is hugely significant, because it implies the Chinese government may have discovered, during the course of its research on GMOs, what has been discovered by some Western farmers and universities: the use of GMOs over time, along with "monoculture" planting methods, actually results in falling yields, not rising ones. Indeed, I blogged earlier this year about a University of Iowa study that indicates some problems. We can, of course, write off the Australian website comment about GMO concerns being "sheer undiluted paranoia" as a kind of sheer, undiluted paranoia of its own designed to divert attention away from what has been the main issue all along, and that is, the utter lack of any genuine independent intergenerational research on the environmental effects of GMOs.

Food is, of course, a major national security issue for any self-respecting Chinese government, after all, that nation has the world's largest population to feed. India is another, and unfortunately, for the moment, under the West's GMO thumb.... but what if China shares its research and concerns with fellow BRICSA nation India?

If that were to happen, then I suspect we're watching the beginning of my long-hypothesized transformation of the GMO issue into a geopolitical one by the BRICSA nations.

See you on the flip side.