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Vietnam: Farmers optimistic about genetically modified maizeqrcode

Jul. 17, 2018

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Jul. 17, 2018
Genetically modified maize (GMM) is a pest resistant crop. If GMM is farmed on a large scale, the amount of maize Vietnam needs to import will decrease. However, the GMM cultivated areas remain far below expectations.

GMM is a pest resistant crop

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in 2015, Vietnam had 12,500 hectares of GMM. The figure rose to 33,190 hectares in 2017, but it just accounted for 3 percent of the total maize growing area (1.15 million hectares).

Initial results satisfactory

Le Thanh Hai is one of the first farmers growing GMM in Vinh Phuc province.

He said at first it was difficult to put GMM into cultivation because of poor information related to food safety.

“However, GMM is pest resistant and suitable to the local crop structure. GMM has helped revive maize farming in our locality,” Hai said, adding that most locals now grow GMM and only a few households still grow white corn.

Tran Quang, director of the Xuan Tien Trade & Agriculture Service Cooperative in Dong Nai province, said he learned about GMM two years ago when MARD permitted commercializations of GMM.

The entire area of 150 hectares of the cooperative is now reserved to grow GMM and the products have been selling well.

He said reducing the GMM seed price is now an important condition for farmers to expand the GMM farming area.

Huynh Van Dang in An Phu district of An Giang province has been growing GMM on a trial basis in an area of 6,000 square meters since the beginning of the year. However, he is optimistic about farming, planning to continue to grow GMM for the next crops.

In 2016, Dang incurred big losses because of crop failure and price falls.

The GMM cultivated by Dang has the same yield as traditional maize varieties. However, as GMM is pest resistant, Dang only has to use herbicides and plant protection chemicals once every crop instead of two as he used to.

Therefore, he can save money and make higher profits. One thousand square meters of GMM can bring him profit of VND3 million, twice as much as traditional corn.

According to Dang, there are many advantages of GMM farming. Growers do not have to pay much for workers or spend too much time on cultivation.

“As we don’t have to spend much time on the GMM field, we have time to take other work to earn extra money,” he said.

Le Thanh Tung from MARD, in Vietnam, said maize is listed as the second important food crop, after rice. However, maize cultivation has been developing in an unstable manner.

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