Greenpeace wants China to think twice about GM rice

Transgenic rice is a direct threat to China's environment and biodiversity and will not benefit farmers, Greenpeace said on Wednesday, calling on the government to think twice about its commercialisation.

While admitting that modified rice could have short-term benefits like killing certain targeted pests, Greenpeace said the greater risks far outweighed the advantages. The crops could mutate and become super weeds, requiring extra strong herbicides to control, kill other insects and birds and contaminate different rice species, it said.

In April last year, Greenpeace said it had found that the unapproved transgenic rice was illegally grown on a large scale in Hubei, one of China’s top rice-growing provinces, and that the rice was also on sale in the two major cities.

A government committee failed to reach a consensus on the safety of genetically modified rice in November, putting off a decision on what could be the world’s first large-scale production of the grain. China has not approved sales of any kind of genetically modified rice.

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