GENET archive


2-Plants: US tries to convince Thailand about GMO-advantages

-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  US: Thailand should use GMO technology to boost crop
SOURCE: Dow Jones Newswire, by Nitsara Srihanam
DATE:   January 11, 2000

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US: Thailand should use GMO technology to boost crop production

BANGKOK -- A U.S. delegation visiting Thailand Tuesday said the
country should be open to using technology involving genetically
modified organisms, saying it will help boost Thai crop output
rather than causing harmful effects. Members of the delegation,
led by Senator Christopher S. Bond, gave speeches on the topic
"GMO and the Future of the World". Several U.S. businessmen,
including a representative from Monsanto Co. (MTC) of the U.S.,
were among the delegation.

"Thailand is an outstanding country in the region along with
Singapore for using GMO technology, as they have good
scientists," Bond said. He said as there is no clear scientific
proof that GMO products have had harmful effects on consumers and
the environment, Thailand shouldn't reject GMO technology, adding
that Thai and U.S. scientists could work together to obtain and
share information on its development.

Responding to international concerns over the GMO issue, the Thai
government in October defined the country's policy toward GMO.
Under the policy, GMO seeds aren't allowed in the country on a
commercial basis and for cultivation but are permitted for
research and experimental proposes. GMO grains are allowed as raw
materials in industries but under close monitoring. The
government expects to maintain this position until GMO products
are proven safe for consumers.

Charles Martin, Monsanto's vice president for Asia Public
Affairs, said GMO technology would help improve Thai agriculture
as it has done for farms in China. He added that around 90% of
Chinese farmers accepted GMO technology by planting GMO plants
such BT cotton after the company's research showed that farm
production costs were reduced by $200 an acre from planting BT
cotton. He also believed that the use of GMO technology will
increase among Asian countries.

Roger Beachy, chief executive officer at the Donald Danforth
Plant Science Center, said GMO plants not only help farmers
reduce production costs but also increase yields while not
damaging the environment, as farmers don't have to use pesticides
on GMO plants. He also added that Thailand should allow its
farmers to decide for themselves whether to use pesticides to
protect plants from insects or to plant GMO seeds without using

Thailand normally imports soybean and corn used to produce
feedmeal for the country's livestock. Both are normally imported
from the U.S. and Argentina, which are developing them using GMO
technology. Thailand is a major shrimp and chicken exporter.


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