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Crop Biotech Update

Philippines' Davao City Agri-council Chair Opens Up to Bt Eggplant

December 17, 2010

Davao City Council chair of committee in agriculture Conrado Baluran expressed his interest on Bt ‘talong'  (eggplant) during a forum held in the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao last December 9, 2010. In the light of the City's resolution against its field testing, Councilor Baluran said that they were now open for amending or changing their position on Bt talong. "After listening to the speakers, I am now convinced that Bt ‘talong' will help our farmers," he declared. He added that as a farmer, he appreciated Dr. Eufemio Rasco's talk about the benefits that farmer and consumer groups would have when Bt 'talong' is released. He was particularly keen about the coexistence of Bt and organic crops.

Before the forum, UP Mindanao Chancellor Gilda Rovero stressed the importance of having informed knowledge in an informed debate. She said that the Bt 'talong' project implementers have "full knowledge of what is to be done and what can't be done," and that these were done in a "stepwise manner". She also reminded that the research conducting the Bt 'talong' project in UP Mindanao was "not just any person" but a "full professor of the highest rank" and seniority in terms of accomplishments - referring to Dr. Eufemio Rasco, co-project leader for UP Mindanao and a conferred academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology.

In addition, Councilor Baluran and the City Agriculture Office received a letter from concerned Davao citizen and veteran plant breeder, Gerardo Santos, clarifying and debunking the misleading and incorrect information on Bt ‘talong' campaigned by anti-GMO groups. Among the points made in the letter were the field trial site being confined, and the eggplant as a self-pollinating crop. Councilor Baluran said that they will immediately react on the concerns.

For a related article about the forum, visit http://www.dailymirror.ph/Dec-2010/12132010/front3.html. For additional information, e-mail bic@agri.searca.org or visit the SEARCA BIC website at www.bic.searca.org.