The State encourages the cultivation of genetically-modified (GM) maize varieties in 13 Mekong Delta localities, heard a workshop on bio-technology held in Can Tho city on August 18.

Pham Van Du, deputy head of the Plant Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the shift aims to increase economic efficiency in farming, thus improving farmers’ income and living conditions.

He added that under the plan on crop structure shift, there will be 30,000 ha under GM maize by 2015.

The GM maize varieties are resistant to insects and herbicides. Their average productivity is 19 percent higher than that of normal ones, while farming costs decrease by 10 percent. The area of land necessary to produce one tonne of corn kernels is also 15 percent less that required for normal varieties.

Du cited results of surveys in nine out of the 13 localities in the region which showed that farmers earn between 20-25 percent more profit from GM maize than normal varieties.

He urged localities in the region to guide farmers in using new varieties developed by bio-technology.

The workshop was co-organised by the US Embassy in Vietnam and Can Tho University.-VNA