Vietnam to permit GM crop production

Publish time: 5th September, 2014      Source:
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September 5, 2014


Vietnam to permit GM crop production


Vietnam''s ministry of planning and investment (MPI) is working with the country''s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to permit genetically-modified (GM) crop production while banning GM animal production in a new law on investment, according to deputy minister, Dang Huy Dong.



Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment are co-operating to allow the official production of GMcropsin Vietnam by 2015, with corn, beans and cotton as focus products.



In fact, early this month, MARD granted licenses to four GM corn varieties, including Bt11 and MIR162 which were developed by Syngenta Vietnam Co., Ltd, as well as MON 89034 and NK603 by Dekalb Vietnam Co., Ltd. The decision was made after careful consideration and submissions to Vietnam''s Council of Food Safety for GM Food and Animal Feed.



Licensing agencies has also declared that the products had no harmful effects on health.



Local agricultural management authorities in some provinces have called for the removal of ban on GM crops. One MARD official said that the decision would go against Decree 69/2010/ND-CP on bio-safety for GM organisms and the National Assembly Standing Committee''s Seed Ordinance 15/2004/PL-UBTVQH11. These two documents outlined the development of GM crops in Vietnam.



"GM crops are hugely advantageous to farmers and enterprises," the unnamed official added.


Le Muon, the deputy director of the south central province of Quang Nam''s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), believes that Vietnam will witness a highly competitive hybrid corn market when GM crops are permitted.

Farmers are also presently using cross-bred strains produced by local firms which hold a monopoly on these strains.



"GM crops can resist wild grass and pests. They will help farmers save production and labour costs, as they are 20% cheaper than locally-made products," Le Muon explained.



Low domestic corn output and quality, together with high production costs, have prompted firms to import cheaper products in recent years. These products include several GM materials for making animal feed, experts said.



In addition, Vietnam spent around US$600 million importing 2.33 million tonnes of corn in the first half of 2014. It is expected that the country will import over 4.5 million tonnes at more than US$1 billion, within this year.