Vietnam has green-lighted the cultivation of its first genetically modified (GM) corn crop after leaving a number of disturbing questions unanswered.
“I want to ask the agriculture minister what benefits genetically modified organisms will bring to Vietnamese farmers,” said To Van Truong, a senior scientist at the Ministry of Technology and Science who insists that local corn can out-produce the imported varietals by over 30 percent.
Critics like Truong say Vietnam rolled out the red carpet for foreign biotech giants looking to peddle genetically modified (GM) corn while sidelining dissenting voices like his.
In August, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development approved the imports of four corn varieties engineered for food and animal feed processing—namely, MON 89034 and NK603 , produced by DeKalb Vietnam (a subsidiary of US mega-corporation Monsanto) and Bt 11 and MIR 162 from the Swiss firm Syngenta.
Truong, a vocal critic of GMOs, confirmed that since the agriculture ministry licensed the four GM corn varieties, there has been a “silence” from those who object to the controversial crops.
“Anti-GMO activists now see no point in continuing to debate GMOs; the dice has already been cast,” Truong told Thanh Nien News. “They don’t want to fight tooth and nail against powerful interest groups.”
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