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Crop Biotech Update

Filipino Farmers and Key Stakeholders Participate in Biotech Communication Workshop

May 6, 2011

Different stakeholders attended a communication workshop focusing on issues and concerns surrounding crop biotechnology. The workshop, which was held last April 26-27, 2011 at Pearlmont Inn, Cagayan De Oro City, Philippines aimed to enhance the capacities of the participants in addressing inquiries related to biotechnology. Dr. Candida Adalla, Chair of the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), shared the government's biotechnology initiatives and highlighted the case of Bt eggplant  saying that, "the efforts on Bt eggplant will hopefully translate into benefits to Filipino farmers." The fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant  is being developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Institute of Plant Breeding.  Dr. Adalla added that  "This (Bt eggplant) is not a technology for planting tomorrow—it is still under experiment. That is why I am wondering why studying it is being opposed."

Dr. Jaine Reyes, University Extension Specialist at the Institute of Strategic Planning and Policy Studies, UPLB, discussed the nature and importance of science communication and imparted helpful tips and lessons on how to write reply letters and article rebuttals, as well as answer during panel interview. Message mapping, a useful tool in organizing ideas for inquiries and similar situations, was discussed by Ms. Jenny Panopio of the Southeast Asian Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC). Dr. Rhodora Aldemita of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), provided the participants with the basics and principles of biotechnology, as well as the answers to frequently asked questions related to crop biotechnology.

The workshop was attended by members of the Asian Farmers Regional Network (ASFARNET) Philippines, representatives from the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority of the Philippines and the Bureau of Plant Industry Plant Quarantine Officers, the Philippine Information Agency, the academe (University of Southern Mindanao and UP Mindanao), and DA Regional Offices and Field Units in Mindanao. The activity was organized by ASFARNET and DA Regional Office 10, in collaboration with DA-BPO, the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Program II (ABSPII), ISAAA, and SEARCA BIC.

For more updates on biotechnology in the Philippines, visit http://www.bic.searca.org or email bic@agri.searca.org.