Filipino Farmers and Other Stakeholders Push for Commercialization of Bt Eggplant
Local government constituents from Pangasinan province in the Philippines, including municipal agriculturists and farmers, students, members of the media, and other stakeholders signed a declaration of support for the commercial planting of the pest resistant Bt eggplant in the country, during the conclusion of a Public Dialogue on Bt eggplant held at the Pangasinan State University (PSU) Campus on September 3, 2014.
It states that after discussion with the scientists, experts, and farmer resource persons in the dialogue, the stakeholders realize that, Bt eggplant, which is being developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), "is a healthier and safer alternative solution against the relentless insect pest – the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB)." They also recognized that its multi-location field trials, which concluded in 2012, have been conducted safely and in full compliance with the prescribed government regulatory procedures, duly approved by the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI). Moreover, they also acknowledge the safety of products of modern biotechnology that have passed food safety assessment based on international standards.
The Public Dialogue was co-organized by ISAAA, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC), the Municipality of Sta. Maria, and PSU-Sta. Maria Campus. Featured scientists include UPLB Bt eggplant project leader Dr. Desiree Hautea, study leader Dr. Lourdes Taylo, UP Diliman professor Dr. Ernelea Cao, economist Dr. Sergio Francisco, and DA-BPI Biotech Core Team vice chair Ms. Merle Palacpac. Farmer-leaders from Pangasinan Ms. Rosalie Ellasus and Mr. Onofre Batalla also shared their successful experiences in planting biotech corn; both expressed their eagerness for the release of Bt eggplant seeds.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)