Biotech sector gets boost
President Benigno Aquino III recently reiterated the government’s support for the role of the country’s science community and modern agricultural biotechnology in the food security and sufficiency program.
Aquino made the statement before the delegates to the 7th International Rice Genetics Symposium in Manila last week, in a speech read for him by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
According to Aquino, “the Philippines recognizes the important role of scientific research, particularly genetics, in ensuring the continued nourishment of our people and in realizing our national goal of rice self-sufficiency.”
“As you strive to find ways to improve rice production, you have my government by your side, ready and determined to work with you,” Aquino told the gathering of more than 700 scientists and researchers on plant genetics.
The symposium, organized by the International Rice Research Institute, takes place every four years and is the world’s biggest and most important rice research conference.
“By strengthening our partnerships in international research and by working to realize our shared vision of equitable access of nations to quality food supplies, we raise the standard of living not only of our respective nations but the very way we live as one global community,” Aquino said.
The President added that the Philippines “recognizes the invaluable contribution of scientists and experts in the development of rice and agricultural products.”
He said these “redound to an improved capacity to feed our people and strengthen our national economy.”
He also explained that the safe and responsible use of biotechnology in food production “reflects our government’s commitment to the welfare of our people and our environment.”
The President’s expression of support for the role of science in food production followed an earlier statement by Alcala that the agriculture department would not stop the field trials for a pest-resistant eggplant variety called Bt Talong.
According to Alcala, the government “does not find any problem in the testing of Bt Talong.”
He warned that if the field trials were prevented, “we’re stopping development for the future.”
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