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PH leads in use of biotechnology, say experts


International agricultural experts cited the Philippines for being a leader in the promotion of biotechnology in food production as well as for making the list of 18 so-called “mega-countries” that grow genetically modified (GM) or transgenic crops.

These statements were raised Monday at a forum held at the US Embassy in Manila.

According to not-for-profit organization International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, the Philippines is 12th out of 28 countries in 2012 that grew GM crops.

The top five GM crop growing countries are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India.

The Philippines also made it to the list of 18 mega countries or those with land area of at least 50,000 hectares of biotech crop cultivation.

“GM is the most rapidly adopted technology in the world and the Philippines is at the forefront of (testing and promoting) this,” said Peter J. Davies, international professor of plant biology at Cornell University in New York, who joined the forum via videoconferencing.

Davies also downplayed concerns that biotech crops are harmful and not fit for consumption.

A fact sheet issued by the US Department of Agriculture said that “the benefits of biotech corn to Filipino farmer’s livelihood, income and health have been well documented.”

According to the USDA, adoption of transgenic corn among Filipino growers has reached a record 375,000 farmers in 2012.

“The Philippines is a leader in international biotech research,” the USDA said. “Its robust and thorough regulatory system has been praised as a model for other countries.”

Reynaldo V. Ebora, director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, cited various studies that say the cultivation of biotech crops could mean an additional income of up to P10,132 per hectare or an improvement of up to 75 percent.

Even then, the Court of Appeals has stopped field trials on GM corn—the so-called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) corn.

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Tags: Agriculture , Biotechnology , Business , food production , genetically modified crops

  • Mark

    I’ll eat GM foods any time of the day than forced to eat China foods!

  • Bob_Phelps

    No-one should take seriously the views of genetic manipulation (GM)-promoters at the US embassy. The US government speaks for its corporations, especially the GM giant Monsanto.

    The speakers should also have disclosed that the top five GM crop growing countries: “the US, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India.” grow 90% of all GM crops in the world, with the USA 45%. They made no mention of the 160 countries that remain GM-free and show few signs of embracing GM technology and its products. Most GM soy, corn, canola and cotton goes into animal feed and biofuel production as people will not eat it. GM is not a food industry that will ‘feed the world’ as GM crops yield no more than the best conventional varieties.

    The spruikers also claim that the Philippines is among 18 mega countries:- “those with land area of at least 50,000 hectares of biotech crop cultivation.” This is meaningless PR and no source of national pride as “mega” means ‘million’. 50,000 ha (500 square km) is not mega in the least. In Australia, some individual farms are that size.

    GM is a field of empty promises, most of which will never come true. Genetic complexity makes it impossible to cut-and-paste most traits across species barriers. Philippino farmers need social justice, not patented GM seed that they cannot save.

  • dcjordan15

    Filipino consumers must be informed of whether the produce that they buy in the market is genetically modified. Every consumer has the right to know.

    • im_earth

      not really.
      all consumers should know only that food is not from China.

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