The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has requested the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to stop its joint project with a U.S. firm to farm genetically modified (GM) silkworms due to the lack of relevant regulations.
In its document sent to the Lam Dong government, the ministry said it cannot allow the implementation of the project intended to raise spider silkworms in cooperation with spider silk technology firm Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (KBL) to produce silks.
Document 10246/BNN-CN signed on December 23 by the ministry said Vietnam had yet to have regulations governing the production of GM animals and creatures.
No legal framework is available to evaluate the impact of GM creatures on the environment and biodiversity, so it is difficult to manage the farming of cross-bred creatures like spider silkworms, according to the ministry.
Experts said local enterprises will lose opportunities if Vietnam does not have proper regulations on the development of GM plants and animals.
Nguyen Quoc Binh, deputy director of the HCMC Biotechnology Center, said Vietnam has had regulations facilitating the growing of GM plants in the country but has yet to have a legal framework for GM animals.
An expert at the Agriculture Genetics Institute said Vietnam has initiated a pilot scheme to plant GM cotton and is preparing to grow GM corn on a large scale.
However, cross-bred spider silkworms were created in 2010. Therefore, it is understandable Vietnam has not prepared a legal framework for its cultivation in the country.