According to Reuters and Bloomberg, China signed agreements in Iowa to purchase biotech soybeans from American suppliers, strengthening the trade relationship between the two countries. The Wall Street Journal noted that Iowa is the nation’s biggest grower of biotech soybeans, while China is the world’s biggest importer and consumer.
The following day, Chinese and U.S. officials, including China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, attended the USDA’s first inaugural “U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium” in Des Moines. The USDA announced that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu had signed a historic Plan of Strategic Cooperation, designed to guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship over the next 5 years.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explained, “This plan builds on the already strong relationship our nations enjoy around agricultural science, trade, and education. It looks to deepen our cooperation through technical exchange and to strengthen coordination in priority areas like animal and plant health and disease, food security, sustainable agriculture, genetic resources, agricultural markets and trade, and biotechnology and other emerging technologies.”
China aims to increase investment in agricultural innovation
Reuters reported on China’s announcement Wednesday that it was looking to boost agricultural innovation in an effort to increase food output.
Technological innovation in the agricultural sector, which includes implementation of a program promoting the application of genetically modified (GM) technology, would “improve land yield, resource efficiency and labor productivity,” the official Xinhua news agency said. Read more
USAID grant awarded for ag biotech research in Bangladesh and Indonesia
According to The Sacramento Bee , the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant to develop salt-tolerant rice and measure greenhouse gas emissions from conventional rice fields in Bangladesh and nitrogen-use-efficient crops in Indonesia.
Through biotechnology methods, researchers will help each country to increase crop yields and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read more
Chinese seed expert calls for support of biotech innovations
According to China Daily, seed expert Liu Shi introduced insect-resistant genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds to help Chinese farmers overcome a worm plague that threatened to destroy the country’s cotton production. Known as “Golden Fingers” for his success, Mr. Liu says China should promote technology and research to spur innovation in the local seed industry. Read more.
Leading Kenyan scientists says opposition to GM crops threatens food security
A leading Kenyan scientist, Dr Felix M’mboyi, says Europe’s opposition to GM crops “could threaten food security” in the developing world, The Guardian reports.
Dr. M’mboyi said, “The affluent West has the luxury of choice in the type of technology they use to grow food crops, yet their influence and sensitivities are denying many in the developing world access to such technologies which could lead to a more plentiful supply of food.” Read more.
Wisconsin newspaper speaks to safety of genetically modified foods
The La Crosse Tribune, a Wisconsin publication, says “we have been genetically modifying our foods for thousands of years through a process called hybridization.” The article points out GM foods are safe since, “the difference is that now we have the technology to do this in a very precise way that we heretofore lacked.” Read more.
Scientists in Ghana say biotechnology will contribute to socio-economic development
Ghana’s government pointed out support from local scientists who said biotechnology could help reduce poverty and improve the country’s food security at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) conference in Accra. Former Ghanaian president, John Agyekum Kufuor, won the World Food Prize this year for implementing initiatives that included technology solutions to alleviate hunger in Ghana.
Dr. Yaa Difie Osei, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana, said, “This approach will enable Ghana enhanced nutritional values and increase the life shelves of produce to sustain socio-economic development of the country.” Read more.
China supports GM corn to boost domestic corn output
According to All About Feed, China is testing genetically modified (GM) corn technology to boost domestic production, which has failed to meet the demand over the past two years. “We have approved one type of GMO strain and we’re testing to see if they can be applied to boost production,” said Chen Xiaohua, a vice agricultural minister. He added, “GMO technology is the strategic choice of the country in the future.” Read more.
TIME: biotech seeds improve productivity of US farming
TIME discusses the contributions of US agriculture to fueling economic growth, noting that biotech seeds help the environment and improve crop yields.
The article points out, “a number of innovations have made U.S. farmers significantly more productive than they were just two decades ago. Bioengineered seeds mean they can use smaller amounts of pesticides and water.” Read more.
Wall Street Journal: Chinese companies investing in biotech
According to the Wall Street Journal, a large Chinese seed producer plans to expand its development of agricultural biotechnology to help feed the world’s most populous nation. This is “an important sign of China’s growing appetite for U.S. crops and biotechnology.” Read more.