The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has just signed Decision 1836/QD-BTNMT on the issuance of bio-safety certificate for the genetically modified corn MON 89034 of Dekalb Vietnam Company Limited, a subsidiary in Vietnam of global seedling group Monsanto, the Vietnam Investment Review reported on September 3.

This is by far the first and only genetically modified corn that has ever been granted such a certificate by this state body (MoNRE).

Prior to this milestone, MON 89034 also received a certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) which acknowledged that this product is qualified as food and animal feed.

Thus far, MON 89034 is the first and only genetically modified corn that was awarded both the bio-safety certificate and the certificate on food safety and animal feed.

Each genetically modified plant must be carefully reviewed and assessed in term of risks by an expert team and then be approved by the National Bio-Safety Council that it is safe to the environment and biological diversification in accordance with the procedures regulated in Circular 08/2013/TT-BTNMT before it is subjected to obtain a certificate on bio-safety.

The development and finalisation of legal framework for assessing the safety of genetically modified plants in Vietnam have been conducted in systematic and science-based manner which incorporates the advantages of the world's advanced safety management systems for genetically modified plants.

The report on risk assessment of genetically modified corn MON 89034 to environment and biological diversification was prepared by Dekalb Vietnam based on the research results which had been proved to be biologically safe worldwide as well as on both restricted and widely pilots of the product in Vietnamese conditions.

Before achieving the certificate on bio-safety in Vietnam, MON 89034 has been awarded the certificate in eight countries, including: Canada (2008), United States (2008), Japan (2008), Brazil (2009), Argentina (2010), South Africa (2010), Philippines (2010), and Honduras (2010).

Currently, imported corn costs Vietnam more than 1 billion USD per year to meet the increasing demand of local husbandry activities, mainly from genetically modified corn-producing countries.

The recent move has, therefore, reflected the commitment of the Vietnamese Government in promptly and comprehensively addressing market development needs; it has also created opportunities for Vietnamese farmers to get access to the world's advanced technologies.

It has been proved that genetically modified plants bring about positive socio-economic and environmental benefits to a large number of countries in the world.

During 1996-2012, genetically modified plants created more than 100 billion USD of accumulated economic benefits for the world and contributed to reduce 503 million kg of pesticides thanks to their anti-worm technology which was recently awarded the bio-safety certificate in Vietnam.

Despite the 20 year gap in experience between Vietnam and the first countries to apply this technology, Vietnam is seizing a "shortcut" opportunity to master and apply this advanced agricultural technology.

MON 89034 is the second generation of anti-Lepidoptera genetically modified plant with prevailing advantages in comparison to the first generation which was proved to benefit farmers and agriculture sector of countries worldwide.

More importantly, MON 89034 promotes the control of the worm resistance development in long-term thanks to its accumulated impacts on worm control.

This improved genetic technology could help release Vietnamese farmers from the yield damage caused by worms as well as from the negative health impacts due to pesticide consumption.-VNA