Crop Biotech Update

Vietnam, Slow and Cautious on GM Crop Adoption

March 12, 2014

Speaking during the seminar launch of ISAAA Brief 46 on Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops for 2013 on February 20, 2014 in Hanoi, Dr. Nguyen Van Tuat, Deputy Director of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said GM corn has been planted on a trial basis since 2007. From this test, seven corn lines have proven to be insect resistant and yielding double the ordinary harvest, with no pesticide use. Tuat said the use of GM plants has become an indispensable trend and has won the government's approval. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has continued to complete procedures to allow the future cultivation of biotech crops.

Professor Nguyen Lan Dung (a famous scientist in Vietnam), however, said Vietnam is slow and too cautious in using GM varieties on a large scale. "These kinds of agricultural products have appeared in the market for a long time. We've imported GM corn, soybeans and soybean meal from the US and China. Why don't we plant these on a large scale, as they should be?" he asked.  Professor Dung added that complicated procedures and a bias about GM plants are the main reasons for the delay in using biotechnology. "Scientists must show evidence which proves these plants are harmless to human and animal health. They are just like other kinds of crops," he said.

Clive James, founder and emeritus chair of  ISAAA, said that biotech crops are demonstrating their global value as a tool for poor farmers who faced decreasing water supplies and increasing weed and pest problems. Also, the effects of climate change would only continue to expand the need for this technology. Experts urged the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development and Science and Technology should work together to reduce legal procedures and cooperate with foreign scientists to quickly apply the technology.

Hundreds of participants from scientific and academic community, government agencies, companies and the media took part in this event organized by the Institute of Agricultural Genetics, ISAAA and Agbiotech Viet.

For details of the seminar and for biotech news from Vietnam, contact Agbiotech Viet at hientttm@yahoo.com or ldlinh@gmail.com.