GENET archive


POLICY & REGULATION: GM crops require new regulations in Viet Nam

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SOURCE: Viet Nam News, Viet Nam

AUTHOR: Minh Dong


DATE:   26.11.2008

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HCM CITY ? New regulations are needed on the use of genetically modified (GM) crops to ensure public health, officials have said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that GM crops such as corn, cotton and soybeans could result in huge savings.

The use of GM corn could save US$500 million a year, MARD said.

Around 1.1 million hectares of corn are grown each year, but average yield is fewer than 4 tonnes per hectare each harvest.

Pests have contributed to the low maize yield, and post-harvest fungi, mould and termites between 10 per cent to 13.7 per cent.

Vietnamese scientists have conducted research on transferring virus-resistant genes into papaya trees and drought-resistant genes into cotton.

The Institute of Tropical Biology?s gene targeting method has created tobacco, rice, green bean and cauliflower strains that are insect-resistant and herbicide-resistant.

Experiments on GM tomato and cabbage crops have also achieved good results, according to the institute. Vo Tong Xuan, an eminent agricultural scientist, said most countries in the EU did not permit the importing of GM food.

India had allowed GM crops, but there were dissenting points of views, Xuan said.

Some scientists believed that GM food, among other consequences, could cause allergic reactions or reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics, he said.

Le Huy Ham, director of the National Agricultural Genetic Institute, said the Government must develop appropriate regulations on the use of GM crops to ensure environmental protection and public health.


Three-stage plan

According to a Government decision issued on November 1 2006, the plan to develop GM crops in Viet Nam includes three stages. From 2006-2010, experiments on gene-altered plants will be done in the field. From 2011-2015, a number of GM plants will be planted. By 2020, the cultivation area of some GM crops, such as maize, cotton and soybean, will be increased to 30-50 per cent.

Twenty-three countries are growing GM crops, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. After 11 years of implementation, the total area of GM crops worldwide has increased from 1 million ha at first to 114.3 million ha in 2007. Approximately 670 GM crops have been on the market in 53 countries. GM crops can increase yield from 5 per cent to 50 per cent.



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