context: With no big changes from 2019 plan, this year’s plan continues to emphasise strictly controlling illegal GM crop breeding and production. MARA will likely soon publish biosafety certificates for a batch of GM products, including two corn varieties and one soybean variety, after a suspension of many years.

MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) published ‘2020 agricultural GMOs (genetically modified organisms) supervision plan’, aiming to ensure the healthy development of agricultural GMO research and application. The Plan specifies

  • goals
    • focusing on key farming seasons, organisations and areas, including
      • northeast grain production areas
      • northwest and southwest seed production bases
      • Nanfan seeding bases
      • ag GMO crops experimental bases
    • controlling seedling sources with supervision of whole process
    • strengthening coordination among public security, customs and market regulation agencies
    • strengthening supports, guidance and inspections with training for higher capacity
  • key supervision areas
    • ensuring accountability of major industrial actors
      • R&D institutions to establish and supervise management systems and control measures
      • seed production and operation organisations to establish recording systems for traceability
    • research and experiment
      • conducting comprehensive supervision
      • ensuring intermediate tests, environmental evaluations and production experiments are reported and certified legally
    • Nanfan seedling base
      • conducting comprehensive supervision
      • controlling unreported experiments and seedlings with strict disposal
    • seed production and operation
      • seed varieties registration, certification
      • conducting GMO component testing to avoid illegal GMO breeding
      • conducting market inspections to avoid sales of illegal GMO seeds
    • imports and processing
      • enhancing combined reviews of seed importers, exporters and processors
      • investigating safety control measures for loading, storage, transportation and processing of imported GMO crops
      • investigative recording of purchase, processing and sales of GMO products to avoid change of usage
  • working requirements
    • strengthening localised management with specialised teams and mechanisms
    • enhancing supervision and inspections
    • increasing punishments for infringements
  • working arrangements
    • provincial departments to develop corresponding supervision plans with clarified responsibilities
    • submitting summary reports to MARA by 10 Dec 2020