China’s massive population has propelled its tremendous economic growth in recent years, but it also entails some unique challenges for the country’s leaders. Food security is near the top of that list of attendant issues, so it’s no wonder that Beijing considers genetically modified foods to be a key component of future strategies for feeding China’s masses. To support that effort, China’s Ministry of Agriculture is launching a public relations campaign aimed at dispelling the myths surrounding GMOs and rallying popular support for high-tech foods. Reuters reports:
A stream of negative reports this year on certain biotech foods, has dragged on already-slow progress toward domestic cultivation and may have played a role in curbing imports of some crops. […]The agriculture ministry earlier this week announced it would try to educate the public on GMO via TV, newspapers and the Internet…It hopes to stifle anti-GMO sentiment that has gathered momentum in the wake of incidents such as reports that genetically-modified rice had been illegally sold at a supermarket in the center of the country.
China has its worth cut out for it. Though studies have shown GMOs to be safe for human consumption and anti-GMO “science” has been discredited, fears of what many see as “unnatural” food are hard to eradicate, or sway with science. That’s true everywhere in the world, including the United States, where greens have led campaigns to require labeling of genetically modified foods (by itself not necessarily a bad thing, though those policies ought to be accompanied by education campaigns of the safety of these foods).Climate change poses all kinds of threats to agriculture, and to humanity’s ability to feed itself. How wondrous, then, that scientists have found new ways of growing food that are more resilient and that produce higher crop yields. The Luddite anti-GMO crowd feasts on the fears of the ill-informed, which is why efforts like the one China is now undertaking ought to be highlighted and applauded.