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GM crops key to future food security: experts

Update: October, 16/2012 - 09:22

HCM CITY (VNS)— Genetically modified (GM) crops will help Viet Nam achieve food security in the years to come when the demand for food rises further, experts said at a seminar held in HCM City yesterday.

Organised by University of Agriculture and Forestry and Monsanto, a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products, the seminar discussed the pros and cons of growing GM crops.

Rashmi Nair, director of Regulatory Policy&Scientific Affairs in Emerging Markets of the Monsanto Company, said that bio-technology had given the world a new tool to improve food security.

However, the development of agricultural biotechnology is perceived by some as posing risks to human health and the environment, with most of the debate focused on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Nair cited the statement of the European Commission's Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover that GMOs were no riskier than their conventionally farmed equivalents.

"There is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health," she said, adding that she was confident that there was no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally-farmed food.

Ton Bao Linh, lecturer at the agriculture university, noted that Viet Nam has had to deal with the effects of "rapid population growth, decreasing agricultural farm areas, more frequent natural disasters, floods, droughts, and diseases."

From 1990 to 2010, the country's population increased from 66 million to 89 million. It is expected to rise to 90 million by 2015 and 100 million by 2020.

Linh said yields needed to be increased at the farm level to make more food available. — VNS

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