The Chinese government has approved 27 genetically modified (GM) corn seed varieties and three GM soyabean varieties, Reuters reported.

Announced by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on 19 March, the approvals were part of China’s aim to increase the development and planting of high-yielding crops, the report on the same date said.

The varieties included seed varieties owned by Dabeinong 002385.SZ and China National Seed Group, a unit of Syngenta Group, Reuters wrote.

After being cautious on the use of GM crops, China said in January that it would expand GM soyabean and corn planting after pilot projects had shown good results in improving yields and lowering costs compared to conventional seeds, the report said.

China – the world’s leading buyer of soyabeans and corn – aims to raise domestic production through higher yielding seeds while reducing grain imports, according to the report.

The list of approved varieties is open for public comment until 17 April, according to the ministry notice.

“After the above varieties are approved according to the procedures, the actual planting area should also comply with the relevant arrangements for the national biological breeding industrialisation,” the notice said.