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Vietnam Grants Licenses To Monsanto, Others To Grow Genetically Modified Corn

The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has granted licenses to 2 companies, Syngenta Vietnam Co., Ltd and Monsanto’s Dekalb Vietnam Co., Ltd to grow genetically modified corn, reports Vietnam Net.

Under the licenses, farmers will be allowed to grow four GMO corn varieties including Bt 11 and MIR162 and MON 89034 and NK603, some which are resistant to insects and others to herbicide.

MARD’s decision to allow GMO corn production comes after years of pilot programs and “careful consideration and the approval of the country’s Council of Food Safety for GM Food and Animal Feed.”

The controversial plants have been decried by environmental activists who say that GMOs have negative economical, ecological and health drawbacks. While numerous studies have shown otherwise, critics say that those who conducted them, such as the companies that produce them, stand to benefit from the positive results.

The presence of Monsanto, which produced the notorious Agent Orange is of particular significance. The chemical, used by the American military in Vietnam between 1961 - 1971, affected over 3 million Vietnamese people and caused wide-spread ecological destruction to over 17.8% of the country’s total forested area. The legacy of the chemical still plagues many regions of Vietnam to this day, resulting in birth defects and other serious health issues. 

U.S. ArmyHuey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over Vietnamese agricultural land.

The popularity of GMO crops has grown 100-fold since 1996, with 170 million hectares grown worldwide and Vietnam plans to widely grow genetically modified corn, cotton and soybeans in the near future.

“The hope is that the introduction of GM products will, not only foster sustainable agriculture in a country that is still largely rural, but also increase the quality of produce as well as the incomes of farmers. In addition, the new policy is aimed at reducing corn imports, which reach into the billions of USD per year,” according to Vietnam Net.

[Vietnam Net // Photo via Darwinbell]

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