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Thailand - Agricultural Biotechnology, annual report

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Table of contents

Report highlights:

The process of approving field trials for Thailand’s first biotech crop corn remains stalled as it has been for many years due mainly to a lack of political will. The current policy and capacity building developments basically remained unchanged from the annual report in 2011. Thailand’s draft Biosafety Law made some progress when it passed review by the government legal office, but a timeframe for submission to the Ministerial Cabinet has not yet been set.

Executive summary:

Since the last update Thailand has made little progress in allowing the commercial use of biotech crops. All of the regulations for agricultural biotechnology remain the same. The Biosafety Law draft was finally reviewed by the Government legal office. This means the draft is now ready for submission to the Ministerial Cabinet for approval, but the timeframe of submission has not been confirmed. Once confirmed by the Cabinet final approval by the Parliament should be a formality. This Biosafety Law if every passed would as now written eliminate the onerous requirement that currently exists where the Cabinet must approve all biotech field trials and it hoped finally allow biotech commercialization.

In early 2012, EU findings of biotech traits in Thai papaya imports led anti-biotech group to criticize the Thai government and call for stricter control. The Thai government promised to take action if the protesters could identify where the papaya was grown.

Due to a lack of progress on approving agricultural technology and generally unfavorable public perception, several academics are concerned that some multi-national seed companies in Thailand may relocate their seed production to other countries in the near future. Thailand has been one of the largest hubs for seed production in the world, exporting planting seed worth of $152 million to over 120 countries in 2011.