More GM Corn Field Trials Before Commercialization in Vietnam
In a two day meeting held at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), results of the GM corn trails conducted in the provinces of Vinh Phuc, Dak Lak, Son La and Vung Tau City were presented. Dr. Le Huy Ham, director of MARD's Agricultural Genetics Institute stated that the four trials showed increased productivity by as much as 30 to 40 percent higher than conventional corn grown in the same condition. It was also observed that corn quality is much better, and farmers and other personnel involved in the trial did not show any adverse health symptoms.
However, other experts, scientists, and Vietnam's seed association believe that further field trials should be conducted to assess the environmental and ecosystem effects, and to obtain comprehensive and careful assessment of potential risks in comparison with benefits.
Deputy Minister Bui Ba Bong said the ministry would continue to take advice to ensure safety before making any decision related to growing GM corn crops commercially. GM corn is expected to play an important role in the country's food supply because 1.6 million tonnes of corn are imported for animal feed each year which increase animal feed cost by 10 to 15 percent.
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)