China begins clampdown on fake seeds

Chinese farmerChina is planning to increase checks at seed markets as part of a crackdown on counterfeit varieties of grain. 

The government official who unveiled the campaign said authorities are particularly targeting corn and rice. Proposed punishments for illegal businesses include the revoking of licenses and whatever else the law allows.

Last year China netted 33,000 tons of fake agricultural inputs and planned to prioritize seizing fake pesticides in 2013. Now the focus appears to have shifted to counterfeit seeds, which have caused problems for farmers in India, Pakistan and other countries.

Agriculture exports in Pakistan have warned fake seeds are limiting farm productivity. India faces similar problems. Last year it seized $750,000 worth of counterfeit seeds and made 25 arrests in an attempt to stop the planting of low-yield fakes.

While China is continuing to grow its agriculture sector - grain output was up 2.1 per cent last year - the government is concerned substandard farm inputs could stymie future rises.

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