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Expansive attitude has reaped benefits

Updated: 2014-02-04 07:49
( China Daily)

Zhang Yongsheng, director of the Life Technology Branch, CropLife China

Brazil and Argentina are two important agricultural countries, similar to China. It took them three years to become major food exporters instead of food importing countries. GM soybeans were adopted in Brazil in the late 1990s. The promotion resulted in more than 85 percent acreage in 2011, and more than 40 percent of the cotton in Brazil was genetically modified cotton.

From 1996 to 2011, the direct economic benefits produced by GM crops reached $11.9 billion with corn, soybeans and cotton each contributing 49 percent, 47 percent and 4 percent. Crop production increased by 44 percent.

There are also a lot of factors contributing to this result. The Brazilian government shortened the approval process time as well as setting up technology promotion systems such as a number of agricultural cooperative societies. Only those companies with full intellectual property and innovative technology will gain access to national preferential agricultural support. For example, The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation's latest anti-viral GM beans will be coming soon. They also worked with BASF to develop herbicide-tolerant soybeans and have already obtained a permit for market.

This expansive attitude of agricultural biotechnology has secured food safety in Brazil and Argentina, and it should be a revelation to us.

Zhang Lei

(China Daily 02/04/2014 page8)