Biotech Updates

Philippine DA Undersecretary Acknowledges Support of Farmers for Bt Eggplant

October 7, 2015

The Philippine Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, Research and Development, and Regulations, Segfredo Serrano, received the declarations of support for the commercial planting of the fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant. The copies of declarations were handed over by biotech corn farmer-leader Edwin Paraluman during the Forum on the Global Alliance for Agri-biotech (GAABT) Model on Low-level Presence and GM and Organic Farming Co-existence held on September 30, 2015 at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City.

The declarations were signed by almost 700 Filipino farmers, scientists, and other agri stakeholders from Pangasinan, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Isabela, Cagayan De Oro, and other provinces in Mindanao after learning about the science, safety, and potential benefits of Bt eggplant from the University of the Philippines Los Ba├▒os (UPLB). Usec. Serrano recognized the farmers and stakeholders' sentiments, and said "I would also hope that there will come a day when we don't need exhaustive resources to get a petition for government to appreciate, and to remind us to push a particular issue that is a legitimate right of our farmers and our stakeholders."

Project leader and proponent of Bt eggplant in the Philippines from UPLB Dr. Desiree Hautea presented the development of Bt eggplant in the country, to address the yield loss caused by the borers, lessen pesticide usage and labor, improve human and environmental health, and ultimately increase farmers' profit. Paraluman said that he has been waiting for a long time for Bt eggplant. "If I will get rich in planting corn, the more I will get rich in planting eggplant. Because I have planted eggplant, but 70-90% have been damaged because of the eggplant borer. With Bt eggplant, we will also have less spraying so it's good for the health."

The forum preceded the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB), which is part of the forum's Food Security Week.

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