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Case Title:

China's Genetically Modified Food Strategy- Boon or Blight?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: B Gopal, A Karunakaran and A Syed

Industry: Food, Diary and Agriculture Products


Case Code: GBE0085IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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On 9 July 2008, the state council of China posted a statement on its website that the country must urgently step up the development of genetically modified (GM) crops to overcome the future food crisis posed by its growing population, shrinking arable land and climate change. China's move towards biotechnology began in the 1980s and by the initial years of the 2000s China became a major producer of GM crops like cotton. But the country had not started the commercial production of GM grains or vegetables. There is a growing concern over the economic and environmental impact of GM crops all over the world, especially amongst the European Union nations which are China's major trading partners. There is also a possibility of GM crops being banned by these nations in the future. If the predictions come true by 2010, China will produce surplus grains through GM strategy and will be forced to enter the export market. But if the ban on GM crops takes effect then Chinese grains would not find a market. If China plans to sell its grains at a subsidised rate that would topple the existing export market and its trade relations. This case tries to analyse the dilemma faced by China - whether to feed its population through GM food strategy and subsequently enter the export market dominated by other developed nations or fear the global ban on GM products and abandon this strategy to continue as a grain consumer.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the growth and development of the agricultural industry in China.
  • To analyse the pros and cons of GM food crops.
  • To explain the global politics of biotechnology.
  • To understand the national and international dimensions of China's GM food strategy
  • To explain the dilemma faced by China in adopting a GM food strategy
  • To analyse whether China can overcome its food crisis by not tilting the international trade balance or causing environmental harm.

Keywords :  China, Agriculture, Genetically modified (GM) food, Food exporting nations, Food crisis, Agricultural productivity, Biotechnology, Genetically modified crops, Genetically modified technology, Biosafety protocol, Anti GM policy, Surplus production

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