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First study of impact of using biotech-GM maize in Vietnam highlights substantial economic and environmental benefits

Published on: 1st October 2020
Published By Graham Brookes



Dorchester, UK, 1st October 2020: The first assessment of the farm level impacts of using GM maize in Vietnam [1], published in the journal GM Crops and Food, has found that since 2015, crop biotechnology has helped Vietnamese farmers grow more food/feed and substantially improve their income levels, whilst using fewer resources.  It has also reduced the environmental footprint associated with the production of maize.

Highlights in the peer reviewed [2] paper include:

  • 225,000 hectares have been planted to maize containing GM traits in Vietnam since 2015 and in 2019, the technology was used on 10.2% of the total maize crop.
  • The technology has enabled Vietnamese farmers to obtain higher yields from better pest and weed control: the GM varieties out-performed conventional varieties by +30.4% (+15.2% if the yield comparison is with only the nearest performing equivalent conventional varieties).
  • The extra production and reduced cost of pest and weed control have provided maize farmers with higher incomes equal to an average of between US $196 per ha (relative to equivalent conventional varieties) and US $330 per ha (average of all conventional varieties). 
  • In terms of investment, for each extra US dollar invested in GM maize seed (relative to the cost of conventional seed), farmers gained an average of between US $6.84 and US $ 12.55 in extra income.  These levels of return are at the higher end of the range of performance for similar maize seed GM technology in other adopting countries.
  • Aggregate farm incomes have increased by a total of between US $43.8 million (based on the yield gains relative to the nearest equivalent conventional varieties) and US $74.1 million (based on yield gains relative to all conventional varieties).
  • The maize seed technology has reduced insecticide and herbicide spraying.  The average amount of herbicide active ingredient applied to the GM crop area was 26% lower than the average value for the conventional maize area and in terms of the associated environmental impact of the herbicide use[3], it was lower by 36% than the average value applicable to the conventional maize area.  Insecticides were used on a significantly lower GM crop area and, when used, in smaller amounts.  The average amount of insecticide applied to the GM maize crop was 78% lower than the average value for the conventional maize area and, in terms of the associated environmental impact of the insecticide use, it was also lower by 77%.  

For additional information, contact Graham Brookes at Tel +44(0) 1432 851007. www.pgeconomics.co.uk

 

[1]‘The impact of using GM corn in Vietnam: results of the first farm level survey’ by Graham Brookes of PG Economics, UK and Tran Xuan Dinh, former Deputy Director-General, Crop Production Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (CPD MARD), Vietnam is available (with open access) in the peer review journal GM Crops and Food.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645698.2020.1816800

[2] Peer reviewed means accepted for publication in a scientific journal after review by independent experts in the subject(s).

[3] As measured by Cornell University’s Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) indicator.

 

Graham Brookes: 1st Oct 2020 14:20:00

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