“Modern biotechnology is for skillful, ingenious, and progressive farmers,” was the key message of Dr. Candida Adalla, director of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Biotechnology Program, to the Filipino farmers during the 3rd National Agricultural Biotechnology Farmers Conference held at the Davao Insular Waterfront Hotel, Davao City last 26 September 2012. Dr. Adalla assured the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops which underwent rigorous and extensive study with enormous investment.
Key scientists presented the status on agricultural biotechnology adoption as well as updates on the development of public-sector GM crops in the country. Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, senior program officer of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), discussed the status of biotech crops adoption globally and in the country and the importance of crop biotechnology in addressing the challenge of producing more with less resource in a sustainable way. Mr. Mario Navasero, from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and Dr. Antonio Alfonso from the Philippine Rice Research Institute, presented the benefits and updates on Bt eggplant and Golden Rice, respectively.
The conference was culminated with the endorsement of farmers’ resolution addressing the need for science-based information on biotechnology for the farmers to make informed choices; a well-defined insect resistance management program, specifically for corn; and the strategies for the co-existence of GM crops with conventional and organic agriculture.