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China planning large-scale introduction of genetically-engineered rice
Thu Feb 17, 7:09 PM ET
Health - AFP
BEIJING (AFP) - China is on the verge of introducing genetically-engineered rice on a large scale as it seeks ways to adequately supply the basic staple to its people.
"It would boost China's rice output by 30 billion kilograms (66 billion pounds) a year. That's enough to feed 70 million more people," Yuan Longping, head of China's super hybrid rice scheme, told the Changsha Evening News.
Yuan said the new rice strains still have to pass state appraisal, expected to be conducted later this year, before they receive vigorous promotion.
Shrinking acreage, falling water tables and a population that is expected to grow significantly beyond 1.3 billion are factors that have led China to explore other ways to feed its masses.
According to supporters of the rice, it will enable farmers to do away with widespread use of dangerous pesticides that effect their health and harm the environment.
They also make much of the fact that it will result in better yields and higher quality grain that will spur farmers' incomes.
Its critics say the long-term effects on human health have not been properly studied and it will create pests with greater resitence to pesticides.
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