In March 2015, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) approved three genetically modified (GM) corn varieties for commercial planting. This is the final step in the regulatory approval process for Vietnam to commercialize biotech corn. In April 2015, the approved GM corn varieties were planted making Vietnam the 29th country to commercialize a biotech crop in the world.
The local corn production areas have been gradually increased but not changed markedly over time, reflecting the Vietnamese government policy encouraging the increase of corn cultivation for supplying the local feed industry. However, local corn production face challenges by the competitive price corn supplied by giant corn growers like India, Argentina, and Brazil. Since 2014, when international corn prices were slashed lower than the all-time prices for Vietnamese corn, there has been abnormal corn volume imported into the country, despite the supply has been much higher than the local demand.
In Vietnam, the growth of baked wheat-based products and noodles requires high quality wheat, which possibly favors increased consumption of U.S. wheat. The recent year-on-year volume of U.S. wheat exported to Vietnam is steadily increasing. This situation justifies the increase demand for premium quality wheat. Recent improvements in trade-related infrastructure, such as deep sea ports that can receive Panamax vessels, should help U.S. wheat be more competitive by reducing ocean freight costs.
In general, feed wheat can be an alternative feed source in place of corn. Imports of feed wheat depend greatly on its price competitiveness with corn prices. Feed wheat imported in market year 2014-15 increased sharply due to its price competitiveness. The first volume of 86,000 tonnes of U.S. feed wheat was shipped into Vietnam in market year 2014-15 and another 68,000 tonnes was shipped into Vietnam during July-February market year 2015-16.