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Crop Biotech Update

Philippine Region 2 Farmers Eager to Grow Bt Eggplant

July 29, 2015

More than a hundred farmers and agriculture stakeholders from the Cagayan Valley region of the Philippines affirmed their support for Bt eggplant during the Public Dialogue on Bt Eggplant held on July 22, 2015 at the Department of Agriculture's (DA) Cagayan Valley Regional Experiment Station in Isabela.

The farmers signed a declaration of support for the commercial planting of Bt eggplant, acknowledging that the Bt eggplant project followed the national biosafety regulatory protocols, and that modern biotech and its products in the market have passed international standards, among others. Long-time eggplant farmer from Isabela, Mr. Manuel Espiritu, expressed that he has no doubts on the safety of Bt eggplant and said that he wholeheartedly supports the said technology. He asserted that fruit and shoot borer damage indeed significantly decreases his income.

The public dialogue clarified the issues on the science, safety, and potential benefits of Bt eggplant in the Philippines. ISAAA Senior Program Officer Dr. Rhodora R. Aldemita gave an overview of agri-biotech and its global adoption status. Bt eggplant study leaders from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Dr. Lourdes Taylo and Mr. Mario Navasero, introduced the Bt eggplant technology. Other topics tackled were an ex ante study on the socioeconomic benefits of Bt eggplant, the food and environmental safety of biotech crops, and the Philippine biosafety regulatory system, and safety assessment of biotech crops.

The activity was organized in response to the farmers' request to know more about Bt eggplant. It was spearheaded by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture - Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC), DA – Regional Field Office 2, Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council 2 (RAFC 2), and Asian Farmers Regional Network (ASFARNET) Region 2.

For more information about Bt eggplant in the Philippines, visit the SEARCA BIC website.