Renewable Farming

How Russia’s non-GMO strategy is already earning export dividends… from China

Russia’s strategy of barring transgenic crops is bearing fruit: Soaring export growth in food sales to China. Today’s Wall Street Journal features a report indicating that Russia’s goal is to crowd out much of America’s $26 billion of annual food sales to China.

China’s top government officials are pushing hard to make China a biotech leader. However, millions of Chinese citizens are wary of GMO foods. Some universities and many military districts insist on only non-GMO food products.

The Wall Street Journal article by Liyan Qi in Beijing makes one of the first “mainstream press” assertions we’ve seen about health issues connected with genetically modified products. The quote:

“Frankly, they want everything,” said Petr Shelakhaev, head of the Russian government’s Far East Investment and Export Agency. “Everything that can be consumed by a human being in China is something they’re interested in.” 

Mr. Shelakhaev pointed to China’s scandal-plagued food industry, where genetically modified products and poor sanitation have created serious health problems. Russian products, by contrast, are seen as safe and sanitary, like those of a Western European country.

You can read the entire WSJ article at this link

Russian government officials have declared that Russia intends to become a major exporter of organic and non-GMO foods.  Apparently that’s how the Chinese see it. 

Liyan Qi quotes a senior Russian official:  “The Chinese view Russian food the way we view Swiss food.” 

American food producers could also find a way to market directly to China via China’s largest on-line wholesale trading system: Alibaba.  It handles more e-commerce than eBay and Amazon combined. Here’s a link to just one classification of products offered for sale on Alibaba: Corn. Non-GMO and organic producers around the globe are already selling wholesale tonnages of corn via this e-commerce system.

Earlier this month, Alibaba founder Jack Ma visited with president-elect Donald Trump and discussed intentions to add a million U.S. business firms as sellers on Alibaba. The intended clientele: Chinese consumers and small businesses. Here’s a link to that report on the WSJ website.