Philippines Ranks 12th Among Top Biotech Planting Countries in 2014

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 in Activities, News | 0 comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
27-February-2015 SEARCA BIC Media Release

Around 415,000 small and resource-poor Filipino farmers planted an estimated 831,000 hectares of biotech corn in 2014, reported the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) in their latest annual report on the global status of commercialized biotech crops launched in the Philippines on 27 February 2015 at InterContinental Manila Hotel, Makati City during the Media Conference on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2014. The record places the country on the 12th spot of top countries growing biotech crops, following Bolivia. The area increased from 2013’s 795,000 hectares of biotech yellow corn which is presently the only biotech crop planted in the Philippines.

Speakers during the conference include ISAAA Chair of Board Dr. Paul Teng; ISAAA Senior Program Officer Dr. Rhodora Aldemita; and Bukidnon farmer Mr. Edgar Talasan who expressed his willingness to plant upcoming biotech crop, Bt eggplant. Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Paz Benavidez II and Academician Eufemio Rasco also gave messages of support for biotechnology. The activity was co-organized by ISAAA with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. also gave the welcome remarks; emphasizing support for science-based information and education on biotech.

Since it was commercialized in 2003 as pest resistant maize, biotech corn has steadily increased in its land area. In 2006, a biotech corn variety with the combined traits of pest resistance and herbicide tolerance was introduced in the country and was embraced by many farmers, reaching 761,000 hectares in 2014. The remaining 70,000 hectares was planted to herbicide tolerant maize.

Since 2011, biotech corn production has exceeded corn utilization in the Philippines, reducing the country’s reliance to corn imports for food and feed. By 2013, the National Corn Competitiveness Board reported that biotech corn has contributed to feedstock supply security and helped in food self-sufficiency. In addition, the Philippine corn silage was exported to South Korea since 2013 because of its quality.

According to ISAAA’s report for 2014, more than 181 million hectares of biotech crops were planted by 18 million farmers in the 28 countries, 20 of which were developing countries, including China, India, Brazil, and Argentina. The lead biotech crops planted globally are soybean, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, and papaya.

The year 2014 also marked the first planting of Bt eggplant in Bangladesh – the first biotech vegetable and food crop to be commercialized in Asia, a milestone achieved through strong political will and support from the government. In Southeast Asia, the highlights were the approval of biotech corn in Vietnam and drought tolerant sugarcane in Indonesia; both crops are expected to be commercialized in 2015. The biotech eggplant and sugarcane appproval are the first for these crops globally.

The Philippines is also gearing up for its very own biotech crops from the public sector. The University of the Philippines Los Baños is developing the pest resistant Bt talong (eggplant), while the Philippine Rice Research Institute, with the International Rice Research Institute, is working on the vitamin A enriched “Golden Rice”. Both crops have been projected by studies to bring significant benefits to both farmers and consumers.

The Philippines is the first country in the ASEAN region to implement a regulatory system for transgenic crops. This system also served as a model for other countries in the region and other developing countries outside Asia.

Farmers from various provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao have attested to the increase in profit and betterment of livelihood from planting biotech corn. Many are also looking forward to other biotech crops such as Bt talong which targets to considerably reduce the cost of harmful chemical pesticides currently used in eggplant farming.

As cited in the ISAAA report, according to a 2014 global study of more than a hundred research on biotech crops in the last 20 years, “on average GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%.”

More details about the status of biotech crops in different countries may be found at www.isaaa.org. Other updates on biotechnology in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia are posted at SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center’s website (www.bic.searca.org). For questions or clarifications, send an e-mail to mmav@searca.org or smm@searca.org. (SEARCA BIC)


For more information, please contact:

SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
College 4031, Laguna, PHILIPPINES
Telephone no.: (+63-49) 536 2290 ext 169
Fax no.: (+63-49) 536 4105
E-mail: bic_at_searca.org

Source: http://www.bic.searca.org/press_releases/2015/02mar.html

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