Biotech Updates

International Conference Discusses Impacts of Biotech Crops

October 2, 2009

A conference titled Measures of Hope and Promises Delivered: An International Conference on Socioeconomic and Environmental Impact Assessment of Biotech Crops" was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 29-30 September 2009. The conference provided opportunities for participants and experts in the field of impact assessment of biotech crops to discuss results of impact studies and learn the tools available in characterizing those impacts. A few of the important outcomes of the discussions include: impact assessments have only been conducted in a limited range of biotech crops in developing countries; conducted in a few countries like China; and focused only on direct impacts. In addition, there has been less effort in quantifying the environmental impacts of biotech crops which would highlight how biotech crops could promote sustainable agriculture. The need for appropriate "standard procedure" or methodologies was also highlighted. The impact assessment studies so far undertaken are quite limited as there are indirect benefits not quantified such as gains in management efficiency, the assurance of improved yields, the peace of mind that losses due to insects and pests are less likely to take place and other indirect benefits.

The conference was attended by 90 participants from Asia and was organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFRI).

For more information about the proceedings of the conference, contact Dr. Mercedita A. Sombilla ( or Ms. Roberta V. Gerpacio (