South Korea Rural Development Agency to halt commercialization of genetically modified crops
Sep. 4, 2017
The South Korea Rural Development Agency (RDA) released a statement on September 1 declaring its decision to halt its efforts to foster a market for genetically modified crops (GMC).
The Agency came to the decision after carrying out a months-long exchange with regional civic groups that had opposed the RDA’s plans to eventually commercialize the GMC industry.
As part of its agreement with the groups, the Agency will also dissolve the National Center for GM Crops, an enterprise with an estimated 7 to 8 billion won in RDA investments.
The deal will also include the formation of a committee tentatively titled “Sustainable Agriculture Committee” staffed by members from both sides of the aisle.
The committee’s main responsibility will be to craft plans for research into genetically modified crops. More specifically, what such responsibilities will entail is educating the greater public about genetically modified crops through seminars and online channels, and commissioning inspections into the environmental health of lands surrounding GMC research facilities.
Led by the anti-GMO collective GMO Free Jeonbuk, the civic groups record of opposition to the RDA’s aims began in 2015.
The groups have held press conferences and gatherings in front of the RDA offices as a show of protest.
Their remonstrations intensified in April, when they set up a tent under which a full-fledged sit-in protest eventually provided enough pressure that the RDA started to engage with the dissenters and listen to their demands.
A spokesperson for the RDA said regarding the agreement with the civic groups that it would continue to work closely with the local residents to foster a collaborative partnership.