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China Refuses Tons of Genetically Changed Corn



From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

China has rejected more than one million metric tons of United States corn since last November. The Chinese government says it is not accepting shipments that include Agrisure Viptera, made by the seed company Syngenta. China says it has not approved importing this genetically modified, or GMO, kind of corn seed.

A GMO food has had genes from other plants or animals added to its natural genetic content. America's National Grain and Feed Association says the Chinese decision is responsible for almost three billion dollars in losses to the U.S. agriculture industry. Wendell Shauman is a farmer in the central state of Illinois. He also is a past leader of the U.S. Grains Council. He has traveled to China to represent American farmers.

Mr. Shauman says demand for American corn used to feed animals is up throughout the world -- except in China. He says that country has a very large market for it. But, American sales there have dropped to almost nothing. He says GMOs increase the size and quality of harvests at lower cost to farmers. And he says some help the environment because they limit the kinds of pest control needed.

Craig Turner is a contributing editor for the online publication Grainanalyst.com. He says corn prices dropped when news first spread of the Chinese rejection. He says corn was trading at about four dollars 20 cents a bushel at that time. Chinese restrictions have continued. But corn prices have since gone up again. Still, Wendell Shauman says the situation caused mistrust of GMO farmers and grain companies that accept GMO crops.