September 9, 2011
Biotech giants Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta are seeking the approval of Vietnam government sell their genetically-modified corn varieties.
According to local daily Nong nghiep Viet Nam, the move came after successful cultivation of these varieties in Vietnam.
Syngenta's GM-corn variety NK66Bt11 is protected from attack of the stem borer while KN66GA21 can tolerate the herbicide Glyphosate. Both varieties can give high yield of between 12 tonnes and 14 tonnes for hectare compared to 5 tonnes given by normal varieties.
In 2010, Vietnam's farmers cultivated 1.1 million hectares of corn, with a majority being planted with hybrid varieties, and harvested 4.6 million tonnes of corn. The average yield of corn in Vietnam is very low compared to the world average 5.16 tonnes per hectare, 5.55 tonnes in China and 9.65 tonnes in the US
The country allows farmers to use GM corn varieties in a move to raise productivity while reducing application of harmful pesticides.
Presently to meet the country's local demand for animal feed production, it has to import one million tonnes of corn annually.