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China amends seed law to encourage innovation

BEIJING - China amended its seed law on Wednesday to make it easier to introduce new plant varieties onto the market, according to state news agency Xinhua.

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A farmer harvests in a crop field in Yili, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING - China amended its seed law on Wednesday to make it easier to introduce new plant varieties onto the market, according to state news agency Xinhua .

New oilseed rape, potato and peanut seeds are among more than 20 crops that will no longer be subject to lengthy approvals but can be directly registered with authorities, Xinhua said, reporting the revisions approved by the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress.

The cumbersome approval process, which can take up to four years, remains unchanged for rice, corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton, considered to be China's most important commoditycrops.

The revisions will "encourage breeding innovation, safeguard farmers' interests and promote the healthy development of China's seed industry while ensuring food security," Xinhua quoted parliament head Zhang Dejiang as saying during the debate on the proposed amendments on Saturday.

It is the first change to the legislation since it was enacted in 2000.

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