Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Taiwan to promote the growth of non-GM grains

Staff writer, with CNA

The Council of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) has decided to implement a five-year project to promote the cultivation of non-genetically modified crops. The decision was made during a meeting attended by agriculture officials from central and local governments on Friday.

Agency Deputy Director Chen Jun-yan (陳俊言) said it expects as much as 32,000 hectares, an increase of 20,000 hectares, to be dedicated to crops other than rice and wheat by 2020.

Chen said that the project is intended to encourage local farmers to grow non-genetically modified crops, such as soybeans, black beans and flint corn, thereby increasing local supply amid growing public concern over genetically engineered farm produce.

Starting this year, 1,500 hectares of farmland is to be dedicated to growing non-genetically modified crops on a trial basis, with a comprehensive production system to be put in place by next year, including an official logo and QR code, he added.

Under the project, the agency is to provide NT$1 billion (US$30.37 million) in subsidies to achieve the objective, Chen said.

Taiwan is currently heavily dependent on imports of mixed grains to meet local demand, with 200,000 hectares of farmland lying fallow since the nation opened its doors to grain imports from the US, Brazil and other countries in the 1980s.

Taiwan imports 8 million metric tonnes of grain every year, a majority of which is genetically modified.

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