The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for the first time has granted licenses to four genetically-modified corn varieties to be used for both human consumption and animal feed. 

This process started four years ago when Vietnam announced it would start field trials of these four varieties of genetically-modified corn. Since then, the varieties have gone through extensive testing and evaluation, as well as being approved by Vietnam’s Council of Food Safety for Genetically-Modified Food and Animal Feed.

This is partly a result of years of educational outreach by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) promoting science-based approaches to biotechnology among policy-makers, said Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director of south and southeast Asia.

The Council believes that the introduction of these genetically-modified varieties will foster sustainable agriculture in the country and increase the quality of its corn.

“It is certainly a welcomed development in Vietnamese agriculture that will improve the livelihood of Vietnamese grain farmers, reduce feed costs for the animal sectors and reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imported feed ingredients,” Yusupov said. “The decision also shows Vietnam’s modern and proactive approach to solving agrarian problems.”

Even though this regulation could reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imports, the country’s macro-economic conditions – including population growth, continual urbanization and dietary shifts towards increased animal protein consumption – offer prospects for increase in feed grain demand and imports of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products.