Vietnam Eyes GM Corn to Help Reduce Corn Imports

Corn is currently one of the ten agricultural commodities that Vietnam imports the most. Without rapidly raising productivity to meet the shortage of corn, it is expected that spending billions of dollars to import corn will continue in the years to come.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first seven months of 2017, corn imports reached 4.13 million tonnes valued at $825 million, up 9% in volume and up more than 11% in value over the same period in 2016. Argentina and Brazil are the two main corn import markets in the first half of the year accounted for 49.5% and more than 15% of total import value, respectively. In particular, in the first six months of the year, corn imports from Thailand increased sharply both in volume and value compared to the same period last year with increases of 14.9 times and 3.54 times, respectively. 

As predicted, Vietnam's demand for animal feed will continue to increase over time, along with the demand for maize, as domestic production only meets less than half of the demand. Some experts estimate that if Vietnam does not quickly solve the shortage of maize, besides the loss of foreign currency, in the long run, Vietnam may still be in the situation. "Even if we have money, it is difficult to buy maize. In case of maize situation, it should promote the development of many forms, especially genetically modified corn. This is how many countries like USA and Argentina did it. These countries not only meet domestic demand, but also export to other countries, including Vietnam. The important solution now is to increase productivity on available acreage to increase yields through the promotion of genetically modified maize. These varieties will minimize yield losses from pests and weeds while reducing input costs as well as negative environmental impacts. 

To gradually reduce dependence on imports of maize, Vietnam should focus on the production of new varieties that are high yielding, and resistant to insects and diseases. 

For more information, read the Vietnamese news at Haiquan Online.


 

This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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