China funds GMO debate
The Chinese government has allocated Yuan 2.6 million ($400,000) to fund public debate on genetically modified crops in an attempt to counter consumer hostility towards them, reports newswire SciDev.net. The Agriculture Ministry is actively promoting GM crop research, which it sees as a way of boosting food supplies for its huge population. It launched a 15-year, Yuan 30,000 million ($4,600 million) biotechnology research programme in 2008. This will run in tandem with the government’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–2015), which has allocated Yuan 10 million ($1.5 million) towards risk assessments for GM crops. Both are also expected to contribute funds for the communications and debate programme.