Despite a backlash from scholars, the people of Heilongjiang, the northeastern province that grows more than 10 percent of China’s grain, appear to be standing united on its ban of genetically modified crops. Starting in May [2017], farmers will be prohibited from planting GM crops, according to a provincial regulation released in December. Observers have said the ban will hinder the development of biotech, while others have questioned its legality…Full Article: ECNS.cn Feb 2017

Key Point

  • In July 2016, Russia banned [Federal Law 358-FZ] the cultivation and breeding of GM crops, and imposed stricter import regulations. Heilongjiang Province has cooperative farms in Vladivostok, Russia.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In October 2019, according to an official from the Heilongjiang Traffic Department, a CNY 2.47 billion (~US$355 million) highway bridge connecting China and Russia over the Heilongjiang River is supposed to open.
  • In January 2017, researchers from the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) published a list debunking commonly held myths relating to GM crops.
  • In December 2016, Heilongjiang Province passed a regulation to ban GM crop cultivation (slated to take effect in May 2017).
  • In November 2016, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced it would permit experimental GM crop cultivation on the southern portion of Hainan Island (i.e. Sanya, Lingshui, and Ledong).
  • In October 2016, a survey of 13 cities in Heilongjiang Province reportedly showed that 91.5% of respondents were against genetically modified crops. During the same month, two new Russian Far East trade corridors with the Chinese provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang were under construction. The Pogranichny-Suifenhe border checkpoint in China’s Heilongjiang Province and Russia’s Primorsky Krai is a major overland trade hub. However, Russia is constructing two international transportation corridors (Primorye 1 and Primorye 2) that will link up with the Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin. Both transportation corridors will be administrated by the city of Vladivostok.
  • In September 2016, officials in Jingbian County, Shaanxi Province, destroyed 3,638 mu [~242 hectares] of GM corn crops. A local seed broker in Jingbian County (Shaanxi) had been accused of knowingly selling US$15,000 worth of GM corn seed to farmers. In 2016 alone, the broker stated he sold more than 10,000 GM corn seeds in Jingbian County, while more than 500 mu [~33 hectares] of GM corn was planted in neighboring Inner Mongolia Region. The broker’s GM corn plot in Inner Mongolia produced more than 100 MTs of corn. The broker also sold GM corn to China’s northeastern regions [likely the Provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang].
  • In May 2016, officials in Xinjiang Region uprooted and destroyed 2,000 acres [~809 hectares] of GM corn crops and fined the offending company approximately CNY 10,000 (~US$1,500).
  • In April 2016, Ministry of Agriculture’s Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Education stated that China will institute a “three-step” approval process for GM seed adoption. The first step involves approving non-edible crops (e.g. cotton), followed by processed/animal feed crops (e.g. corn), and lastly staple crops. The emphasis is that GM corn seed would be the first staple/animal feed crop approved for cultivation.
  • In March 2016, China’s Minister of Agriculture encouraged Chinese companies should invest in the agriculture sector of Russia’s Far East.
  • In January 2016, GM corn cultivation was reportedly occurring on a large scale in Liaoning Province.
  • In December 2015, China and Russia signed quarantine inspection agreements on Russian exports of wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans.
  • In October 2015, China’s Food Conglomerate, COFCO Group, announced plans to construct two warehouses (100,000 MT capacity each) in Russia’s Far East. COFCO was interested in constructing the warehouses in Russia’s Mikhailovsky priority development territory located in southern Primorsky Krai.
  • In September 2015, soybean farmers near the city of Suihua, west-central Heilongjiang Province, were found growing GM soybeans. Heilongjiang Province is China’s largest soybean grower, accounting for 2.5 million ha or 27% of the country’s total sown area in 2013. This was a stark decline from the 4 million ha that was sown in 2009, a sign that Heilongjiang soybean farmers are becoming less competitive with cheaper foreign imports.
  • In June 2015, China announced it would start the construction of a joint Chinese-Russian livestock agricultural complex in Heilongjiang province. The agricultural complex will developed by China’s Zhongding Dairy Farming and Russia’s Severny Bur, with approximately 100,000 ha of Russian and Chinese land to be used to grow animal feed. Russia’s Primorsky Krai borders China’s Heilongjiang province.
  • In December 2013, farmers in Hunan Province planted smuggled GM corn seed that was procured from a seed company in Guangdong Province. The seed company admitted smuggling more than 50 MTs of Monsanto (US) and Syngenta (Swiss) GM corn seed during the past decade via tourist couriers and import bribes. During the same month, Hainan government officials discovered and subsequently destroyed illegal GM corn trials that were taking place on the island.
  • In June 2012, the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF) was established by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and China Investment Corporation (CIC). The private equity fund initially received US$2 billion from the RDIF and CIC (equal share). The RCIF was tapped to invest 70% of its funds in Russia and CIS countries (i.e. Central Asia), while the remaining 30% would be invested in China.
  • In August 2009, China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) issued safety certificates for the university’s two GM rice varieties (Shanyou 63 and Huahui-1/TT51-1) in Hubei Province and for Origin Agritech’s GM corn variety (BVLA430101) in Shandong Province.
  • In 2004, the Sino-Russian agricultural joint venture “Armada” was established. The agricultural JV covered an area of 40,000 hectares in Russia’s Primorsky Krai region.

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