The Ministry of Agriculture has issued health certificates for two strains of domestically developed genetically modified rice, the Wall Street Journal reported. The rice was approved for production and consumption after years of tests and trials, but must meet with further approval before it can be produced on a commercial scale. Industry participants believe it will be two to three years before the rice is ready for production. China has been relatively open to using biotechnology to alter food crops; Beijing has pushed for the country to remain self-sufficient in staple food products. The new strains of rice have been genetically modified to improve their resistance to pests and herbicides. Genetically modified versions of other staple crops, such as soybeans and corn, have been grown in other countries, but this would be the first time that genetically modified rice has been produced on a large scale.