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Northeastern China province harvests big crop of non-transgenic soybeans

(Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- Financial Times: Despite the great impact on the rural sector brought about by the nation's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the soybean production of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, a main producer, has witnessed a good market this year. One of the major factors in this trend-beater was the emphasis on growing non-genetically modified soybean.

A report by the China Grain and Oil Import and Export Co Ltd revealed that the delivery price of soybean on November 28 in Harbin was 2,240 yuan (US$270) per ton, 80 yuan (US$9.6) higher than the previous week. Meanwhile, data from the Provincial Statistics Bureau showed that the sown area of soybean in the province reached 2.56 million hectares this year. The price increase of soybean in a bumper harvest season is the result of a reduction of soybean supply in the international market, coupled with the improved quality of the local soybean, experts said.

"The output of soybean this year in the United States, which accounts for half of the world's total, decreased by 9 percent compared with that of last year, and the oil content of the local bean has risen by 0.5 percent," said Liu Zhongtang, an expert with the Provincial Agriculture and Science Institute and the National Soybean Engineering Research Center. "Another reason is that the soybean produced in Heilongjiang is non-genetically modified, which has attracted more and more enterprises from home and abroad to place orders with local farmers." Liu added.

In response to widespread public concern over the safety of GM foods, many countries have imposed bans on imports of genetically-modified food products.