China plans to dramatically increase agricultural biotechnology spending to guarantee its food supply. Although a final budget has yet to be approved, spending is set to increase five times its current level, according to Zhang Liang Chen, president of the Agricultural University of China. According to Jikun Huang, director of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, current spending has more than doubled from $200 million in 2003. The country accounts for 20% of worldwide spending on agricultural biotech research. Employing 2,000 scientists, the government’s research spans 200 laboratories. Biotech crops are planted by approximately 6.8 million Chinese farmers, but the country has only approved genetically modified tomatoes, sweet peppers and papaya for farming. However, it is field testing several more crops. China accounts for 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of its arable land.

Source: Financial Times

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