Genetically modified corn trial in Phu Tho

Six genetically modified (GM) corn varieties are being trialed in a midland commune in northern Phu Tho Province.

The GM corn being tested by Son Hung Commune in Thanh Son District were developed by Dekalb Vietnam Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto Group, and are designed to be more resistant to pests and weeds than natural varieties.

Farmer Luu Van Tran, from Soi Ca Hamlet in Son Hung Commune, who was among the first to try the BM corn in his field, said he had no concerns about using the GM seed.

Tran said his son was studying at the Hanoi-based Vietnam National University of Agriculture and had looked at available information on the biotechnology.

“New corn varieties help save production costs, preserve genuity and improve product quality,” Tran said.

He said neighbouring farmers were more cautious when he sprayed his field with glyphosate herbicide, which can kill natural corn.

Corn is a major crop in Thanh Son District, covering nearly 4,000ha of cultivation.

“Traditional corn varieties yield an average 5.2 tonnes a hectare and the GM corn varieties are expected to yield from six to eight tonnes a hectare,” said Le Thanh Hai, an agricultural promotion cadre in Son Hung Commune.

Hai said if GM corn was dangerous, "the Vietnamese government would have not allowed them to enter the country”.

Do Quang Truong, who is in charge of technical issues of Dekalb Vietnam, said GM corn had been tested by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and recognised as a “normal” crop plant, and there were no concerns of the GM corn infesting neighbouring farms using traditional varieties.

In early March, MARD allowed commercialising three GM corn varieties that help protect crops from insects and weeds. Last August, MARD licensed the first four GM corn varieties for both human consumption, and as animal feed in the country.

GM corn is being trialed in hundreds of locations across Vietnam.


Genetically modified corn trial in Phu Tho