Filipino Farmers Eager for Bt Eggplant Commercialization
Around 100 farmers from different towns in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, as well as local agriculture officers, faculty, students, and staff of the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) were enlightened on the science, safety, and potential benefits of the fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) during the Public Dialogue on Bt Eggplant held on March 27, 2015 at CBSUA, Pili, Camarines Sur.
Co-organized by CBSUA and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC), the dialogue clarified issues and concerns on food and environmental safety of biotech crops. ISAAA Global Coordinator and SEAsiaCenter Director Dr. Randy Hautea gave an overview of the global status and impacts of biotech crops in 2014, while Bt eggplant study leader Dr. Lourdes Taylo of UPLB talked about the scientific background, development, and status of the said biotech crop. Dr. Jinky Leilani Lu of UP Manila and Dr. Cesar Quicoy of UPLB discussed their ex ante studies on the potential health, environmental, and socioeconomic impacts of Bt eggplant. UPLB-Institute of Plant Breeding Assistant Professor Dr. Eureka Ocampo explained the food safety of biotech crops. Vice Chair of the Biotech Core Team of the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry Ms. Merle Palacpac also presented the national biosafety system in the country.
After the presentations, the farmers and other stakeholders signed a declaration of support for the commercial planting of Bt eggplant. The document stated their recognition of its potential significant impacts in the human health, environment, and socioeconomics, and its safety through the rigorous risk assessments.
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)