Biotech Updates

BT/FSBR Eggplant Collaborators Enhance Skills in Biosafety and Biotech Communication

August 6, 2010

Researchers and collaborators of the Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR)/Bt eggplant project, members of Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBC) and regional plant quarantine officers from seven Bt/FSBR eggplant multi-location trial sites in the Philippines underwent a biosafety and biotech communication skills enhancement training on July 27-28, 2010 at Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. Organized by the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP) II, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Biotechnology Information Center, the training was part of a series of capacity building and technology acceptance initiatives related to the Bt/FSBR eggplant product development. The workshop was also supported by the Department of Agriculture Biotech Program Office (DA-BPO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

A communication workshop module tailored specifically for the project allowed the participants to improve their skills to effectively share information, respond proactively to inquiries, and anticipate public's information needs in relation to issues raised about the Bt eggplant technology. Dr. Anabelle Novero, IBC Chair from University of the Philippines Mindanao shared the difficulty of scientists and academicians to convey science-based information related to Bt technology in layman's perspective. Dr. Eduardo Tulin, IBC Chair from the Visayas State University, expressed the importance of being equipped with factual, science-based information and the necessary communication skills in addressing possible inquiries related to the Bt/FSBR eggplant.

Dr. Desiree M. Hautea, project leader and product development manager from the University of the Philippines Los Banos - Institute of Plant Breeding reported that initial observations from the first multi location trials showed that the Philippines' Bt/FSBR biotech eggplant has high resistance to the pest. The Bt eggplant technology is expected to provide positive impact to the farmers for the control of the pest and could immensely reduce pesticide use.

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