Biotech Updates

Philippine Stakeholders Welcome New Data on Global Biotech Adoption

March 18, 2011

Several key stakeholders: scientists, regulators, academicians, farmers, media practitioners, government representatives, private sectors, non-government organizations, and local government units, joined the recent launch of the latest International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) publication on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops for 2010. The updated data on biotechnology adoption and global impact was shared by Dr. Clive James, founder and chairman of ISAAA during the Seminar on the "Global Perspective of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010" last March 11, 2011 at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City.

The Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia to approve the propagation of a biotech crop since the commercialization of Bt corn in 2003. It is also the first Southeast Asian country to be included in the mega countries adopting biotech crops. For 2010, the Philippines ranked 13th among the 29 adopting countries worldwide who have planted a total of 148 million hectares. Biotech corn is planted in more than 500,000 hectares by about 270,000 small-scale resource farmers in the Philippines.

Dr. Gil Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA director, underscored biotechnology's importance in agricultural development and commended the recent data on global adoption of biotech/GM crops and its contribution to food productivity and poverty alleviation. Dr. Ruben Villareal, on the other hand, said that biotech crops are expected to expand as more important crops in developing countries are given R&D attention.

Mr. Isidro Acosta, the farmer speaker from Naguilian, Isabela, shared how biotechnology made his life better. He was among the first farmers to plant Bt corn in Isabela and his yield increased from three metric tons per hectare to seven metric tons, consequently increasing his income.

The Philippine launch was co-organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and ISAAA.

(Left to right) Mr. Philip Shull, Agricultural Counselor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Mr. Isidro Acosta, farmer from Naguilian, Isabela; Dr. Clive James, chair and founder of ISAAA; and Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., Director of SEARCA, all recognize the benefits of biotechnology in agriculture during the "Global Perspective of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010" seminar last March 11, 2011. (Photo courtesy of ISAAA)

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