Crop Biotech Update

Philippines Remains at the Forefront of Biotech Adoption in Asia

March 5, 2010
The Philippines remains to be in the forefront of GM/biotech corn adoption in the Asian region being the only country in Asia to grow GM/biotech food. In 2009, the area planted to genetically modified corn is projected to increase to about 490,000, from 11,000 hectares of Bt corn when it was first planted in 2003. This is based on the projection data shared by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) during the recent Seminar of its Chair and Founder, Dr. Clive James, on the Global Overview of Biotech/GM Crop: 2009 - Current Status, Impact and Future Prospect, The event participated by the academe, scientists, regulators, policy makers, technology developers and farmers was co-organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), the SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA), and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

In the forum, Mr. Joseph Benemerito, a recipient of the National Best Quality Corn Farmer in 2008 from Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, shared his experience in planting insect resistant, herbicide tolerant and stacked trait corn. His corn harvest increased from 3 to 3.5 metric tons per hectare from conventional corn to 7 to 8 metric tons per hectare from biotech corn. National Scientist Gelia T. Castillo in her message also posed challenges for scientists, plant breeders and economists to help in the development of a science culture in the Philippines that will serve as the foundation for strategic actions to alleviate poverty and hunger in the country.

To date, the Philippines has 49 approvals for the direct use /importation of biotech crops for food, feed and processing for crops such as corn, alfalfa, sugarbeet, soybean, potato and squash. Five events have been approved for commercial propagation.

For details on the Seminar, contact Jenny Panopio, SEARCA BIC network coordinator at jap@agri.searca.org.