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Crop Biotech Update

Filipino Farmers Briefed on Bt Eggplant and Advantage of Biotech Crops

August 10, 2012

The development, safety and potential benefits of the fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was introduced to more than a hundred farmers from all over the country during the First Provincial Farmers Action Council (PFAC) Convention last August 6, 2012 at Benguet State University, La Trinidad, Benguet.

Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, study leader of the Bt eggplant project in UPLB, discussed the importance of eggplant in the country, the technology and mechanism of Bt eggplant, how it was developed in the Philippines, its status and importance of the multi-location field trials, and its potential economic, environmental, and health benefits. When one farmer asked when they can plant it, Dr. Taylo clarified that as a regulated biotech crop, Bt eggplant would be made available to farmers once it is approved for propagation by national biosafety regulatory agencies.

Also presented were the economic and environmental benefits gained in planting biotech corn (i.e. higher yield and income, lesser pesticide use); Dr. Taylo reported that based on data recorded by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, corn production in the country generally increased since the propagation of biotech corn in 2003 while the area of production remained almost the same.

The PFAC convention aimed to make agriculture programs "more responsive" to rice and corn farmers' needs and for farmers to "aggressively participate" in these programs.

For more information about Bt eggplant or biotechnology in the Philippines, visit http://www.bic.searca.org or e-mail bic@agri.searca.org.