Forty-three delegates from 10 Asian countries composed of farmer-leaders, scientists and the academia, media, as well as representatives from government and private institutions gathered for the week-long 13th Pan-Asia Farmers’ Exchange Program held on April 1-5, 2019 in Manila, Philippines.
Discussions focused on communicating biotech in the Philippines, the country’s biosafety regulations for biotech crops, insect resistance management program, the current status of agri-biotech in each country, and plant breeding innovations. The group also went to a commercial Bt corn farm in the province of Tarlac and paid a visit to the International Rice Research Institute as well as the Corteva Seed Processing Plant to learn about their projects and see the research facilities first-hand.
The exchange program, which was first conducted in 2007, was organized by CropLife Asia, CropLife Philippines, and the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines. It aims to serve as a platform for knowledge sharing and exchange on agricultural biotechnology where the delegates learn how biotech crops go through a stringent, science-based regulatory process to ensure their safety to humans and animals and to the environment, how they are managed at farm level, and how they benefit the farmers and their communities.
Written by Danellie Joy O. Medina, SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
More than 100 Legislative officials from the House of Representatives and selected members of the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) were apprised on the Philippine regulatory system for genetically modified crops in a briefing held at the House of Representatives on February 27.
Filipino lawyers favor the application of agri-biotech in food and medicines, a study conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Development Communication (UPLB-CDC) found. Read more
Beyond the stellar performance and numerous achievements of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2018, such as the launch of the country’s second microsatellite Diwata 2 and the signing of the Balik Scientist law, among others, Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña expressed his drive to improve three key areas: manpower, infrastructure and innovation.
Superior rice varieties from the public breeding sector can be expected soon with the completion of a Genetic Resources Laboratory and Genebank housed at the Central Experiment Station of Philippine Rice Research Institute.
“Before now, I didn’t sleep well when I planted corn in my field,” recalled Edwin Paraluman, a farmer from the Philippines. “I was always afraid that I would wake up one day to find my corn field destroyed by the corn borer. This is because the corn borer in the Philippines does not respect any season, it is always there in the corn field.”
About 40 media practitioners from Central Luzon convened at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station based in this city to learn the latest information on the healthier rice project, January 9. Read more
To boost the production and ensure the constant supply of quality wood, five forest tree species—the Benguet pine, bagalunga, molave, ipil and narra—have been placed under “genetic diversity” assessment by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Read more
The Los Baños scientific community came out in full force to welcome Sir Richard J. Roberts, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, at his recent conferment of the Degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the University of the Philippines (UP) for his contributions in the field of molecular biology on November 21, 2018 at UP Los Baños in Laguna, Philippines.
Supermarket shelves in the United States would soon be featuring the next generation of biotech food. An Associated Press report, for example, revealed the advent of granola bars made with genetically tweaked soybean oil that is heart-healthy. Foods from plants or animals that had their DNA “edited” are expected to begin selling by early next year. “Gene editing” is a different technology than the so-called genetically modified foods. It is “more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth and make farm animals hardier, and fruits and vegetables last longer.”
The National Biotechnology Week is an annual celebration of biotechnology in the Philippines, officially set every third week of November by Presidential Proclamation No. 1414. The celebration highlights the role of biotechnology across vital sectors in the Philippines, from agriculture to the youth. The 2018 NBW happens from November 13 to 17 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Read more
The Philippines continued to be Asia’s leader in biotechnology as sustained developments in science and technology greatly contributed to the advancement of its farm sector, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has set a funding pact with nonprofit organization Crop Trust to conserve and secure the world’s largest rice collection. The agreement guarantees US$ 1.4 million per year for IRRI’s rice genebank in Los Baños, Laguna. The facility, which houses 136,000 varieties of rice, has been called the world’s “largest rice bowl.”
With the continued increase of rice prices in the Philippines, there is but one question consumers and farmers would want to ask on the case of the soon-to-be commercialized golden rice – is it affordable?
Good harvest under drought condition is now possible with the development of five breeding lines that can thrive well even with less water in rainfed areas.
Bred by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the drought-screened (DrS) lines include DrS 1062, DrS 1085, DrS 1061, DrS 1042, and DrS 1057. The lines, which are identified under moderate to severe drought conditions, were developed from NSIC Rc 9 (Apo).
Over 120 farmer leaders around Mindanao agreed to explore and use modern biotechnology as an alternative way in farming.
Asian Farmer Regional Network-Davao Region representative Eduardo V. Bernadas, in an interview with SunStar Davao on Wednesday, September 5, said he and his fellow farmers are highly interested in growing biotech products now that they have a clearer and better understanding about science-based farming.
Filipino farmers should gain access to low-cost genetically modified (GM) seeds once a law that seeks to advance biotechnology in the Philippines is passed, according to the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines Inc. (CAMP).