From Bio Journal - March 2017
NARO to perform outdoor trials of new GM rice
MAFF's National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) is to perform outdoor trials of a new "sink-ability altered rice" at the Kannondai Facility (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture) fields during FY2017. The cultivation period will be from April 2017 to March 2018. Sink-ability results in high photosynthetic ability for the purpose of increasing yields.
MAFF to abolish the Major Agricultural Products Seed Act
MAFF is to submit to the current session of the Diet a bill to abolish the Major Agricultural Products Seed Act, enacted in 1952 to secure food supplies. The Act performed the role promoting superior varieties of the three grain crops, rice, wheat and soy, staples of the Japanese people and earmark a budget for their diffusion. However, as it hinders market entry by private companies, pressure has built up to have Act abolished. The Council for Promotion of Regulatory Reform, set up by the Abe government with a view to participation in TPP, has criticized the Act, stating, "This Act dampens the enthusiasm of private companies." To take the place of the Act, MAFF is scheduled to submit a "Bill to Support the Strengthening of Agricultural Competitiveness" that will promote market entry by private companies. The development of new varieties and their diffusion, thus far carried out by municipalities, will be lost, and if the entry of private companies into the market pushes ahead it could be that Monsanto and other multinational seed corporations will overwhelm the Japanese seed market. (The Japan Agricultural News, 2017/2/2)
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