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Genetically modified crops to be planted in 2015
14-August-2012 Tuoitrenews
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Official permission for the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops on a large scale in Vietnam may not be realized until 2015, said a recent conference.

The first GM plant to be grown may be corn, according to a biotechnology conference co-hosted in Ho Chi Minh City by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the US Embassy in Vietnam.

Vietnam has imported GM corn and soybeans from the US and Argentina for animal feeding purposes for about a decade, said the conference.

This has been necessary thanks to the lack of domestic raw materials for processing animal feed, said Nguyen Tri Ngoc, director of the Cultivation Department under the MARD.

“These GM materials don’t affect human health as they are mostly used to process animal feed,” he said.

Imported GM corn has many outstanding features over normal crops, including high productivity and better anti-insect capacity.

However, the planting of such GM crops needs to follow the general planning for such plants in Vietnam, along with sound state management and brave scientists pioneering in the field.

Genetically modified plants will play an important part in triggering the second green revolution in Vietnam so that the country’s agricultural sector can thrive in the face of climate change and shrinking agricultural land, said Bui Chi Buu, professor at the Institute of Southern Agriculture Engineering of Vietnam.

Regarding risks and other harmful effects created by GM crops, Buu added that the risks are primarily a part of to people’s imagination, adding that there is no scientific evidence proving that such problems exist.

In 2008, Vietnam planned to test GM agricultural crops until 2010 and then grow them on a large scale, but that has not happened.

Under the government plan, Vietnam would from 2011 plant GM species of maize, cotton and soybean.

GM technology has become highly controversial in many countries, praised by some for increasing yields and improving varieties, and condemned by others for creating "frankenfoods" that pose dangers to the environment and people's health, according to AFP.

Environmental group Greenpeace has called for a worldwide recall of GM foods, with a spokesman saying this week that distributing them was "like playing Russian roulette with consumers and public health", AFP reported.

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