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Crop Biotech Update

Filipino Farmers from Isabela Grateful for Understanding the Science of Bt Eggplant

May 20, 2011

In a letter of gratitude to Isabela Governor Faustino G. Dy III, farmers from Isabela, northern part of the Philippines, expressed their eagerness to plant the fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant, once approved by the government for commercial propagation. The twenty-nine farmers who visited the Bt eggplant field trial being conducted at the University of the Philippines Los Baños Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) last April 25, 2011, thanked the government of Isabela province for supporting their study visit to the research institution.

The small-scale farmers appreciated the learnings on the science and safety of biotech crops, particularly that of Bt eggplant, during the seminar that followed. "We, as farmers, are delighted to learn that the public research institution, particularly the UPLB-IPB, is working on the development of this innovative biotech product which we believe would be very beneficial to the farmers of Isabela, particularly in addressing the number one pest of eggplant, fruit and shoot borer," they wrote.

The farmers believed that Bt eggplant would be able to increase their yield and significantly reduce their dependence on pesticide, which, they held, has negative impact on their health, their community, and the environment. The farmers concluded their letter by thanking the Governor for providing the farmers the opportunity of keeping them informed of the new innovations on agriculture which would allow them to exercise their freedom in choosing the technologies for their farm.

For more information about biotechnology updates in the Philippines, visit SEARCA BIC's website http://www.bic.searca.org or e-mail bic@agri.searca.org.