DOST says biotechnology to increase farmers’ productivity

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Events, News | 0 comments







by Carlito C. Dar / PIA

Embracing science and technology boosts the country’s food production and can increase farmers’ productivity.

In a recent forum by the Department of Science and Technology that aims to increase awareness on biotechnology, Dr. Prima Fe Franco, vice president for Research and Extension of the Mariano Marcos State University, said biotechnology refers to a Biology-based technology using organisms or their parts to make or modify products or improve plants, animals, and microorganisms.

It is now used in many countries in the field of agriculture, medicine, environment, and industries.

She said part of biotechnology is genetic engineering, which if combined with DNA technology, is used in producing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that help boost productivity in the agriculture sector.

In the Philippines, the Bt corn is the first commercialized genetically modified crop that showcased higher rate of investment despite the higher cost of seed.

National Academy of Science and Technology Science Research Specialist I Saul Rojas said Bt technology uses a microbial pesticide that produces toxic protein that can kill corn pests and proven for safe use for 40 years now.

Rojas said with Bt corn seed, farmers can reduce the use of pesticides and can produce better corn grain and higher yield up to 40 percent more based on their field testing.

From 10,000 hectares of Bt corn plantation in the country in 2002, it increased to 700,000 hectares in 2012. For the first time last year, Bt corn has been exported.

Rojas said other agriculture-related biotechnology that are on the pipeline are the golden rice which is already being tested by the Philippine Rice Research Institute; the Bt eggplant and papaya which has a longer shelf life and transgenic with delayed ripening trait and ring spot virus resistant projects at the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

DOST Regional Director Julius Sicat said aside from increasing productivity and competitiveness, Science and Technology can help address the country’s concern on booming population and food security, as well as the challenges posed by climate change.

The forum, which was attended by representatives from regional line agencies, academe, farmers groups, and media practitioners, was conducted in partnership with the NAST-Philippines.