The first four genetically-modified (GM) maize varieties have been licensed for both human consumption and as animal feed in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) granted licenses to four GM corn varieties, including Bt 11 and MIR162 developed by Syngenta Vietnam Co., Ltd as well as MON 89034 and NK603 by Monsanto’s Dekalb Vietnam Co., Ltd.
Of these patented GMO products, MON 89034, NK603 and Bt 11 are insect-resistant, while NK603 is designed to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, and was first brought to the US market in the 70's under the trade name Roundup Ready.
MARD has granted certifications to these four GM maize varieties after careful consideration and the approval of the country’s Council of Food Safety for GM Food and Animal Feed.
These are first GMO products to be approved for both human consumption and animal feed in the country. The licensing agencies say they have determined to their satisfaction that the products have no harmful health effects.
The licensing is considered a first step in the creation of a legal framework regarding GM foods, and the government is in the process of speeding up the application of such technologies in agriculture. This is in line with the plan for sustainable agriculture through 2020.
The hope is that the introduction of GM products will, not only foster sustainable agriculture in a country that is still largely rural, but also increase the quality of produce as well as the incomes of farmers.
In addition, the new policy is aimed at reducing corn imports, which reach into the billions of USD per year.