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Apr 9, 2012

Vietnam Continues to Test GM Corn

Agriculture officials visit a field of GM corn, 
Agricultural Genetic Institute 
in Van Giang District, 
northern Hung Yen Province.
Photo: VNA/VNS
On 9 April 2012 VietnamNet Bridge and Vietnam News reported that while the government of Vietnam had received "positive" results from its four gene-modified (GM) corn field tests, it would like more evidence and would continue to study whether or not to approve the commercialization of GM corn in Vietnam. According to Nguyen Dong Quang, deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's plant protection department, the decision is an important one since Vietnam imports up to 1.6 million tons of corn annually mainly for use as animal feed.  The need to import corn was driving Vietnam's animal feed costs up 10-15% over similar costs in Thailand and China.

According to Dr. Le Huy Ham, director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Agricultural Genetics Institute, Bt GM corn had "30-40% higher production than unmodified corn grown in the same conditions ... and the quality was much better."  His colleague, Dr. Pham Thi Lien add that the tests had proven the basic environmental safety of the corn noting that the GM corn "did not turn into wild grass or cause any agricultural epidemics or any harm to biodiversity or the ecosystem. ... Participants in the trials did not show adverse health symptoms."

Former director of the Agricultural Genetics Institute told VietnamNet Bridge that this did not "tell much, especially in assessing their effects on the environment and ecosystem. ... He suggested six more multi-location field trials."

Professor Tran Dinh Long, chairman of Viet Nam Seed Association, agreed that more field tests were necessary.  He pointed out that farmers were paying for the cost of pesticides and that this should be included in any future cost-price evaluations.  

For more see:

"Scientists recommend more trials of genetically modified feed corn," VietnamNet Bridge, 9 April 2012.
"Scientists recommend more trials of genetically modified feed corn," Vietnam News, 7 April 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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