Biotechnology vital for PHL food security

As stated by the biotech timeline presented by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, the modern biotechnology period came into being in 1973 when renowned scientists and Herbert Boyer managed to splice a gene from an organism and also succeeded in moving it to another organism.

Boyer’s laboratory went on to develop a man-made version of the human gene for insulin, in 1978. Only 4 years after that, scientists would manage to develop the very first transgenic plant. The tobacco plant is antibiotic-resistant. This led the way for advantageous characteristics, for instance, resistance to insects, to be moved to plants.

In the 1990s, even more genetically altered crops were generated, however, these crops took their time in making their way to the Philippines. In 2003, the nation began its cultivation of the GM corn (the Bacillus thuringiensis maize).

The government generated a set of rules in the 2002 Series of Administrative Order 8, before letting farmers sell Bt corn seeds. This was the very first list of biotech regulations put forward in Southeast Asia. Because of its various requisites, it is considered to be very strict.

In the data released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, it was seen how Philippines’s farmers made nearly $560 million, between 2003 and 2014, through their plantation of the GM corn.

GM corn has not only contributed to raising the farmer’s incomes, but it has also aided the nation in gaining self-sufficiency when it comes to corn. The rise in corn manufacture added to the broadening of the sector of aquaculture and livestock, which rely on feeds.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, ex-President acknowledged the significance of biotechnology not only to food manufacturing but also to the healthcare sector by signing Proclamation 1414 which stated how November’s last week should be declared the National Biotechnology Week.

-Written by Shreyas Tanna in Biopharmapress.