Search PG Economics

Use the search below to search our website, if you can't find what you're looking for then contact us and we will do our best to help you.



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.


[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.

[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

Download PDF Version | Download Full Report

What Is (risk) Appropriate Regulation Of Gene Editing Technology?

Despite the much-hyped expectation that Europe was on course to follow other parts of the world in removing GMO-style regulatory requirements from gene edited (GE) crops, with EU elections looming and no agreement in sight the bloc now risks slipping back towards precautionary inertia. Summarising their recent peer-reviewed paper exploring risk-appropriate regulation for gene editing, agricultural economists Graham Brookes and Stuart Smyth warn that we must learn the lessons from past experience of divergent international regulation of agricultural innovations. The impact of over-precautionary EU regulation of gene editing will not only disadvantage European agriculture, but will also compromise global efforts to address urgent climate, biodiversity and food security challenges, they argue.

Feeding The Uk Sustainably: Time For Policy Inaction To End

As Ministers prepare to unveil a new land use framework for England this autumn, the scientific evidence behind land sparing as the most effective farm policy for delivering food production, climate and biodiversity goals is compelling. Why then does the UK government continue to favour a land sharing approach through its environmental land management schemes? The recent ‘re-interpretation’ of an expert land use report for the large, land-owning NGOs who commissioned it may provide some clues, writes agricultural economist Graham Brookes.

European Court Ruling On Neonicotinoids Further Highlights Muddle Created By Ongoing Eu Regulatory Inconsistency And Dysfunction

The recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling that EU Member States can no longer grant derogations (exemptions) for the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments to control pests in arable crops like sugar beet and oilseed rape raises a number of important questions and highlights the regulatory inconsistency and muddle that the European Union (EU) has created for itself

Feeding The World Sustainably: Crop Biotechnology Continues To Make A Significant Contribution, Concludes New Research

GM crop technology continues to make an important contribution to reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture and securing global food supplies in a sustainable way. It has reduced pressure to bring new land into agriculture, which is vital if the world is to maintain and restore the natural habitats and vegetation that are best for many species of plants and animal life and for storing carbon” said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics, author of the research.