Cibus and Rotam announced a new agreement to cooperate in the development of herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China. The sulfonylurea (SU) herbicide tolerant rapeseed will be produced in China to help meet the country’s growing demand for high quality, non-transgenic (non-GMO) rapeseed oil. Rotam will take the lead in choosing rapeseed breeding partners and establishing the relevant business model to commercialize both the seeds and herbicides in China.

Global rapeseed production has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, rising from the sixth largest oil crop to the second largest. Between 1999 and 2008, rapeseed oil made up 13-16 percent of world vegetable oil production The Chinese breeding society believes with its launch in China, Cibus and Rotam will provide a way to strengthen the Chinese rapeseed industry by lowering the cost of production and increasing yield.  

China, which currently imports one-third of its rapeseed needs, has seen its rapeseed oil imports increase exponentially in recent years – from 132,000 metric tons in 2000 to 644,000 metric tons in 2010. As GDP per capita grows throughout China, Chinese consumers will have more disposable income to purchase items such as rapeseed oil, which is generally priced higher than other oils. “Chinese consumers view non-transgenic rapeseed oil as a healthier alternative to soybean and palm oil, and as more Chinese move into the middle class in the upcoming decade, rapeseed oil demand is set to outpace supply,” said Jean-Michel Duhamel, Rotam’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We believe that bringing this non-transgenic technology to multiple rapeseed varieties will eliminate crop rotation issues for the crop and help meet China’s growing demand for rapeseed oil.”

“With the demand for rapeseed oil soaring with an emphasis on non-transgenic product, this agreement with Rotam will not only help meet a pressing need in the Chinese market, but will also help Chinese farmers,” said Cibus President & CEO Peter Beetham. “This new product reduces the amount of chemicals needed to achieve weed control, cutting costs, increasing crop yield and providing benefits to the environment.”  Beetham continued, “Rotam is the foremost crop protection company in China, so it was a natural step to work with Rotam on bringing a new non-transgenic rapeseed solution to a country with a growing need for rapeseed oil.  In partnership with Rotam, Cibus looks forward to bringing a new class of non-transgenic rapeseed breeding technologies to China.”