An undated photo of a farmer harvesting genetically-modified corn in the Mekong Delta. Photo credit: Saigon Times Online
Vietnam's agriculture ministry is drafting a circular on genetically modified organisms, requiring foreign suppliers of the plants for local farmers to build seed factories within four to five years since getting their licenses, news website Saigon Times Online recently reported.
The rule is meant to prevent Vietnamese farmers from relying on imported seeds and allow the government to manage GMO issues better, the website quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Over the past year, the ministry licensed at least four genetically-modified corn varieties to be commercially cultivated in Vietnam.
Three of them which are engineered for animal feeding processing are imported by Swiss agribusiness Syngenta, and the other brought in by Delkab Vietnam, a subsidiary of US mega-corporation Monsanto.
Commenting on the ministry's rule, Pham Duc Tuan, Syngenta's manager of legal affairs, said in the website that his company is not worried about investing into a seed factory.
What matters is that the ministry needs to set up necessary policy allowing businesses to rent enough land for seed production activities, Tuan said.