Cambodian government denies presence of GMO crops amidst GM export concerns

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The government has denied the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the agricultural sector amid persistent reports that some local farmers may already be cultivating genetically engineered “hybrid” seeds, warning that countries could restrict or ban the import of Cambodian agricultural products if use of the biotechnology is confirmed.

Claims of GMO use in Cambodia go back over a decade, with reports alleging the Ministry of Agriculture approved trials of genetically modified Bt cotton in the early 2000s and subsequently licensed several varieties of GM corn. There have also been sporadic reports of smallholder plantings of GM corn near the Thai and Vietnamese borders, as well as farmers planting Bt cotton seed purchased from China.

Hean Vanhan, an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, cast doubt on the veracity of the reports, stating firmly that Cambodian farmers have never taken up GM seeds – and the government would like to keep it that way.

“We are still not using any GM seeds for cultivation as they remain highly controversial in the international market, and we are dependent on exports so must comply with market trends,” he said. “If we allow GMOs to exist in our market it would have an impact on our exports as some countries do not trust them.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Government says reports of GM crops in Cambodia are ungrounded