Vietnam grants licences to cultivate GM corn

GM cornThe Ministry aims to cultivate Vietnam’s first GM crops by 2015 and have 30-50 per cent of the country’s farmland covered with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by 2020. (Image source: Michael Dorausch/Flickr)Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has granted licences to four genetically modified (GM) corn varieties to be used for both human consumption and animal feed

According to the Ministry, the process started four years ago when Vietnam had announced it would start field trials of these four varieties of GM corn. Since then, the varieties have gone through extensive testing and evaluation, as well as being approved by Vietnam’s Council of Food Safety for Genetically Modified Food and Animal Feed.

Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director of South and Southeast Asia, said, “This is partly a result of years of educational outreach by USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and the US Grains Council (USGC) promoting science-based approaches to biotechnology among policy-makers.

“It is certainly a welcomed development in Vietnamese agriculture that will improve the livelihood of Vietnamese grain farmers, reduce feed costs for the animal sectors and reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imported feed ingredients.”

The decision also shows Vietnam’s modern and proactive approach to solving agrarian problems, Yusupov added.

Even though this regulation could reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imports, the country’s macro-economic conditions — including population growth, continual urbanisation and dietary shifts towards increased animal protein consumption — offer prospects for increase in feed grain demand and imports of US coarse grains and related co-products, local reports stated.

The country currently imports 1.5mn tonnes of corn for animal feed every year from Brazil, Argentina and the US, including GM varieties.

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