March 19, 2015


Vietnam OKs Syngenta GM corn seed for cultivation



Syngenta on Tuesday announced that Vietnam had approved its Bt11 x GA21 double stack corn seed for commercial cultivation.


The Swiss seed and crop chemicals company said the double stack would be available for the 2015/2016 season.


Corn hybrids containing the Bt11 trait are designed to control the Asian Corn Borer, which is the most damaging corn pest in Asean countries, Syngenta explained.


GA21 glyphosate tolerance, on the other hand, would give farmers greater flexibility in managing weeds, thereby helping them to maximize yield potential, it added.


Syngenta Chief Operating Officer Davor Pisk said: "Today's (March 17) announcement is another example of the broad potential of our proprietary corn traits. The decision by the Vietnamese government will give growers access to a wider choice of agricultural technologies and will be a valuable addition to our integrated offers in Vietnam."


Syngenta said it "is committed to providing integrated crop solutions and agronomic knowledge which support growers in increasing productivity and crop quality in a sustainable way".


360 lawsuits


Syngenta is currently embroiled in a maelstrom of lawsuits filed by farmers and traders in the US. The Associated Press reported in early February that the company faces over 360 lawsuits in 20 states.


The lawsuits arose from Syngenta's sale of the genetically modified corn MIR 162, also called Agrisure Viptera, which was approved by the US Department of Agriculture in 2010 and first sold to farmers in 2011.


In February 2014, China started rejecting US corn imports after it had discovered the Viptera trait in several shipments three months before.


The lawsuits claimed that China, which refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn't tested, rejected more than 131 million bushels.


Even farmers who did not plant the Viptera corn as well as grain handlers and exporters claimed they lost money arising from the Chinese boycott of US corn and corn byproducts.


Syngenta spokesman Paul Minehart had in the past issued a statement claiming that "Syngenta has done what a good company should do".


"We developed a superior product that helps farmers; we applied for and received government approvals from the US and major export markets at the time; and we submitted an import application to the Chinese government that was timely, accurate and complete", Minehart had said


China eventually approved Viptera for import last December.

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