SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC) releases The Bt Eggplant Story, a new video series that documents the development of Bt eggplant in the Philippines and highlights the clamor of farmers for the release of the genetically modified (GM) crop.
Eggplant is a vital element in the households of many Filipino families. Apart from its health benefits,there is high demand for the crop since eggplant farming is a major source of income for farmers. However, the current situation puts them, the consumers, and the environment at risk. Eggplants are susceptible to the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB), causing around 70%-80% yield loss annually.
Even more alarming is the exposure of farmers, consumers, and the environment to pesticides to save their harvests. This gives farmers no choice but to use toxic and often illegal pesticides to prevent yield loss. “Every time we spray, we mix up around 4 different chemicals. Around 30% of our capital goes to pesticides. If we don’t do this, we lose produce and income,” the farmers share during the interview.
The Bt Eggplant Story series was produced in collaboration with Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership, Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office, and Greenbug Media Productions.