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Project launched to increase cultivation of non-GM crops

Project launched to increase cultivation of non-GM crops

Taipei Sept. 20 (CNA) The Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA), under the Council of Agriculture, has decided to implement a five-year project to promote the cultivation of non-genetically modified (GM) grain. The decision was made during a meeting attended by agriculture officials from central and local governments on Friday. AFE Deputy Director Chen Chun-yan (???) said the agency 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 the project is intended to encourage local farmers to grow non-GM 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 will be dedicated to growing these non-GM crops on a trail basis, with a comprehensive production system to be put in place by 2016, including an official logo and QR code, he added. Under the project, the AFA will provide NT$1 billion (US$30.9 million) in subsidies to achieve this objective, Chen said. Taiwan is currently heavily dependent on imports of mixed grains to meet local demand, with 200,000 hectares of farmland fallow since the country opened its doors to grain imports from the United States, Brazil and other countries in the 1980s. Taiwan imports 8 million metric tonnes of grain every year, the vast majority of which is genetically modified. For instance, about 2.5 million metric tonnes of soy beans are imported annually, but more than 90 percent are GM produce. (By Yang Shu-min and Flor Wang)


Updated : 2021-09-23 09:46 GMT+08:00