News last update:6 Aug 2012

Thailand needs GMO field trial to move sector forward

The Thai government should allow open-field research for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to move science and biotechnology development forward, says a veteran agriculture expert in the Bangkok Post.

Ananta Dalodom, president of the Horticultural Society of Thailand, said the Thai government had yet to state clearly when it would allow field research of GMOs.
In Thailand and other countries, GM crops have been portrayed as "Frankenstein crops" by environmentalists, though more than 50 countries now allow them to be planted.
The Thai cabinet in 2007 ruled that any field research on GMOs needed prior cabinet approval but the approval process is just a "ritual", according to Ananta.
"The government is not interested in talking on a scientific basis. It is just worried about the political impact as it is afraid that there will be groups of people coming out to protest and that [politicians] will lose votes," said Ananta, who is a former director-general of the Agriculture Department.
"Actually a large number of farmers are waiting for [the use of GMOs] to develop their crops, but their voices are not loud enough."
"And while [the government] is banning open-field research, it is allowing imports of GMO soybeans because if we don't import them it will affect animal feed."
Meanwhile, the private sector is planning to file a petition to the court for access to technology.

Dick Ziggers

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