|Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.|
Good news out of Vietnam today! The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has granted licenses to four GM corn varieties, including Bt 11 and MIR162 developed by Syngenta, and MON 8903 and NIK603 by Monsanto. Among these varieties are everyone’s favorite Round-Up Ready traits. (Source: AgroNews) These four varieties are the first biotechnology crops approved both for animal feed and human consumption in the country.
Licensing comes after the Ministry has studied the technology and performed a biology safety assessment on each of the GMO products. The four varieties have received safety certificates.
Vietnam has actually fully realized the benefits to GMOs and has set fairly lofty goals. In 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Vietnam put together a plan for implementation of the technology in the country. The goals included the cultivation of GMO crops by 2015 and raising GMOs on 30-50 percent of the country’s farmland by 2020. (Source: Thanhnien News*) The government sees this as part of its sustainability plan for Vietnamese agriculture.
However, part of the plan is also meant to decrease the amount of corn Vietnam imports into the country each year. No doubt the GMO varieties will have increased yields that will benefit farmers in that country. Currently, Vietnam has to import 1.5 million tons of corn for animal feed. The imported corn comes mainly from South American countries and the United States.
Regardless, congratulations to Vietnam for opening the doors on biotechnology! I love to see countries embracing technology and progress over fear and misinformation!
*This source had a lot of good information regarding Vietnam’s path to allowing biotechnology. However, it was also inaccurate in that it cites to the debunked Seralini study and another fraudulent study on pigs. I have addressed both topics in the past here and here.