March 04, 2021

Why is the 2,590 acres of genetically modified corn suspected of illegal planting farmers taking the risk?

Our reporter Ma Aiping

On the evening of July 10, Denghai Seed Industry announced in accordance with regulations that it had been found to be suspected of illegally planting 2,590 acres of genetically modified corn. On the 15th, industry insiders said in an interview with a reporter from Science and Technology Daily that the details need to be further verified.

In recent years, incidents of illegal planting of genetically modified corn in China have been repeatedly exposed. At present, the corn that is allowed to be planted in China are all non-genetically modified varieties. Why should farmers take risks and plant illegally?

Farmers are extremely enthusiastic about genetically modified corn

According to industry insiders, the main reason is that farmers like it.

"Compared with conventional varieties, genetically modified corn not only saves labor and medicine but also increases yield by 10% -30%, and it can sell 4-5 cents more per kilogram of corn due to the reduction of mildew. 50 yuan. "Huang Dafang, a researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told Sci-Tech Daily.

As a result, farmers were extremely enthusiastic about genetically modified corn, and some dealers saw the profitability and began to take risks.

"However, illegal planting and sales have seriously disrupted the market, and some large and medium-sized seed companies have been squeezed and eroded in the conventional varieties of legal production and operation, which has led to a decline in profits and difficult survival. At the same time, illegal planting of genetically modified insect-resistant corn has also directly violated All the enterprise benefits of research and development of similar corn. "Huang Dafang said.

GM safety is inconclusive

In response to questions on the Internet about whether GM corn planted illegally will bring food safety and environmental safety, Wang Dayuan, who was the first director of the Department of Bioengineering of the China Rice Research Institute, told reporters at the Science and Technology Daily that GM is a safe technology. The safety of the genetically modified products evaluated is as safe as that of non-genetically modified products.

In fact, it is a general trend that safe and effective genetically modified products will be applied. A few days ago, the International Agricultural Biotechnology Application Service Organization released the latest "Global Biotechnology / Genetically Modified Crops Commercial Development Trends" annual report. The report pointed out: In 2017, 22 years after the commercialization of genetically modified crops, 24 countries planted 189.8 million hectares of genetically modified crops. In Asia, Vietnam has also taken the lead in the industrialization of genetically modified corn.

Wang Dayuan said that during the more than 20 years of large-scale planting of genetically modified crops, there has not been a food safety and environmental safety incident caused by genetically modified crops, and there is no evidence that genetically modified crops are harmful to human health.

Promoting planting is the most effective way

Under the premise that the safety of genetically modified crops and food has been finalized, the demand for widespread cultivation of genetically modified corn in China has become stronger.

In fact, China has been planting GM cotton on a large scale for more than 20 years, and it has also been importing GM soybeans on a large scale for more than 20 years. In 2017 alone, China ’s net imports of soybeans were 95.42 million tons, most of which were GM soybeans.

To address the needs of farmers, promotion is the most effective method. In the "Thirteenth Five-Year" National Science and Technology Innovation Plan, it is clearly necessary to promote the industrialization of insect-resistant corn, herbicide-resistant soybeans and other major products while maintaining the introduction of new insect-resistant cotton.

Huang Dafang revealed that Chinese scientists have successfully bred a number of genetically modified insect-resistant, herbicide-tolerant corn lines with independent intellectual property rights that can ensure safety and achieve internationally advanced technology.

"If you can take the time to promote the application of genetically modified corn, it is expected to be welcomed by the entire industry chain of farmers, seed production and sales enterprises, storage and processing enterprises. Actively promoting the industrialization of genetically modified corn can not only replace illegality with law, purify domestic corn market, but also It is conducive to gaining the initiative in international trade competition, and more importantly, it can break through the current bottleneck of domestic biotechnology breeding development, promote the transformation and upgrading of the seed industry and stimulate a new round of major innovations in agricultural science and technology. "Huang Dafang said.

(Science and Technology Daily, Beijing, July 15th)