Monday, May 7, 2012

GM food worm its way penetrating Vietnamese market | Look At Vietnam

GM food worm its way penetrating Vietnamese market

May 8, 2012
LookAtVietnam – Vietnamese state management agencies have admitted that
genetically modified products have been present in Vietnam for a long time.
Especially, they have been available everywhere in the market, competing with
normal censored products.

In April 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) informed
that there had been no final experiment result about genetically modified
organism (GMO), and that Vietnam still does not allow growing genetically
modified crops (GMC) in Vietnam.
Most of the Vietnamese polled people said they had never seen any GM products
before. Nevertheless, management agencies have confirmed that GM products have
been present in Vietnam for a long time.
Management agencies powerless
Though Vietnam only allows growing GMC in small scale before making a decision
over whether to grow GMC in a large scale in Vietnam, GMO products have been
available on the market for the last many years.
Professor Nguyen Lan Hung said at a recent conference that ¾ of GMO cotton
varieties have appeared in Vietnam. In Son La province, farmers have been using
GM cotton varieties imported from China and they have been satisfactory about
the new variety which can bring higher yield than domestic variety.
Hung said that the area for growing the GM cotton variety would increase from
1000 hectares to 3000-4000 hectares the next year, because the new variety can
bring higher yield, while the trees are well drought and insect resistant.
GM food has also been present in Vietnam for a long time. According to Dr Nguyen
Lan Dung, Secretary General of the Vietnam Biology Association, said that
Vietnam has been using GMO products, no matter if it wants or not. Every year,
Vietnam imports 2 million tons of soybean cake and 1.6 million tons of maize,
mostly GM maize.
Meanwhile, the scientists, who attended the workshop on GMO in early October
2011, affirmed that most of the cotton trees grown in Vietnam are GMC.
The Testing and Standard Center No. 3, which tested 323 samples of soybean,
tomato, potato, maize and rice taken accidentally from 17 markets and
supermarkets in HCM City, found out that 1/3 of them are GMO products. However,
the testing center now does not carry out GMO experiments any more.
Consumers being cheated
Answering the question “do you know GMO products?, Nguyen Thu Thuy in Go Vap
district in HCM City said she heard about this, but she does not understand the
issue well. Some people say GMO have appeared in HCM City, but no one has seen
any GMO products in city so far.
Thuy also thinks that if the products are GMO, this information must be shown on
the packs of the products, while consumers would decide whether to buy them.
Meanwhile, Kim Minh, chief accountant of a bank branch in HCM City, said she
usually updates information about GMO and she knows that this remains a
controversial issue.
However, Minh said that while the management agencies have not come to a final
conclusion, the availability of GMO products on the market means that
manufacturers do not respect domestic consumers.
A scientist has cited the survey by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development as saying that most of the animal feed samples available on the
market contain GMO factors. To date, three kinds of GM plants have been allowed
to grow in Vietnam. GM maize has been grown together with normal maize in HCM
City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong.
The worrying problem is that foreign companies give varieties to farmers
directly and they promise to take responsibility for the outlet of the products.
Farmers in the central region and central highlands have also been growing
cotton in a spontaneous way, which shows that agencies remain weak in managing
GMO products.
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