14th National Biotechnology Week (Philippines)

14th National Biotechnology Week (Philippines)

In observance of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414, s. 2007, the National Biotechnology Week (NBW) is being organized by Departments of Agriculture (DA), Science & Technology (DOST), Health (DOH), Environment & Natural Resources (DENR), Trade & Industry (DTI), Interior & Local Government (DILG), Education (DepEd), and the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), as well as the academe, civil society organizations, and private companies, constitute the National Biotechnology Week Committee with the Department of Agriculture as its Chair for this year’s celebration.

With the theme, “Bioteknolohiya: Pambansang Hamon, Pambansang Solusyon”, this year’s 14th National Biotechnology Week will be held at the World Trade Center Hall D, Pasay City from 13 to 17 November 2018.

Various events and build up activities are being spearheaded by the eight lead national agencies of which details were shared by Dr. Vivencio Mamaril, Director of Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office, in an interview by PTV-4’s Bagong Pilipinas.  On the other hand, SEARCA BIC will organize Agri-biotech Bootcamp as one of the complimentary activities during the 14th NBW.

 

For updates, visit NBW’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nbwphilippines.

Help us in promoting the information about the country’s 14th NBW by using the hashtag: #PinoyBiotech2018 in your social media accounts!


14th National Biotechnology Week Activities:

Awit, Saya, at Bioteknolohiya (Jingle-Making Contest)

2018_NBW_awitsayawbiotekThis contest, organized by the DA Biotech Program, is open to all high school students in the country.

The winning school will receive Php1,000,000.00 worth of science laboratory and library grant, and Plaque of Recognition for the students.

Deadline of pre-registration: October 15, 2018

REGISTRATION IS EXTENDED
Deadline of compostions: October 28, 2018

Entries must be sent through e-mail (nbwphilbiotech@gmail.com).  Awarding ceremonies will be held at the World Trade Center, Pasig City on 14 November 2018.

For more details, please visit this link: https://goo.gl/jW8sH4


Madulang Sabayang Pagbigkas para sa Bioteknolohiya

2018_NBW_sabayangdulaThis DA-Biotech Program’s contest is open to all high school students in public and private schools.  The winning school will receive Php1,000,000.00 worth of science laboratory and library grant, and Plaque of Recognition for the students.

Deadline of pre-registration: October 15, 2018

REGISTRATION IS EXTENDED
Deadline of compostions: October 28, 2018

Send in your entries through e-mail (nbwphilbiotech@gmail.com).  Awarding ceremonies will be held at the World Trade Center, Pasig City on 14 November 2018.

For more details, please visit this link: https://goo.gl/Wfq4op


Biotech Fan Art: Poster Making Contest

2018_NBW_biotekfanartThis DA-Biotech Program’s competition will enjoin elementary students to create a poster that will represent the theme of the 14th National Biotechnology Week: “Bioteknolohiya: Pambansang Hamon, Pambansang Solusyon.”

Winning school will receive Php200,000.00 worth of IT grant, and Php50,000.00 worth of IT grant for the student.

Deadline of pre-registration: October 15, 2018

REGISTRATION IS EXTENDED
Deadline of posters /entries: October 28, 2018
Please send them through e-mail (nbwphilbiotech@gmail.com)

For more details, please visit this link: https://goo.gl/3gVghA


 

Dr. Randy Hautea: Global advocate for farmers and biotechnology

Dr. Randy Hautea: Global advocate for farmers and biotechnology

Dr. Randy A. Hautea dedicated his career to improving the lives of smallholder farmers, especially in developing nations.

As a plant breeder and global coordinator of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA), he was committed to using biotechnology to breed crops that can help smallholder farmers succeed and ensuring that farmers have access to innovation.

“Biotechnology is one of the tools necessary in helping farmers grow more food on less land,” Dr. Hautea told a Nigerian newspaper last year. “However, the promises of biotech crops can only be unlocked if farmers are able to buy and plant these crops, following a scientific approach to regulatory reviews and approvals.”

Dr. Hautea died July 18 in the Philippines, where he resided with his wife, Desiree, who is also a plant scientist.

“I was privileged to have Randy as my student while he was earning his doctorate in plant breeding at Cornell University,” said Dr. Ronnie Coffman, director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP-CALS). “He was a fine researcher, with a passion for plants and a passion for helping the farmers who grow them. His dedication to advancing agriculture will be acutely missed.”

Dr. Hautea received his M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in agronomy and plant breeding from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, and was a visiting scientist in agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Hautea was internationally respected for his significant contributions to the understanding and improvement of crops, especially field legumes and fibers. His research focused on breeding crops that were tolerant to various stresses and adapted to intensive cropping systems, as well as improving seed quality.

In recognition of his research achievements, the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines awarded Dr. Hautea its “Outstanding Young Scientist” prize in plant breeding in 1995.

Professionally, Dr. Hautea was director of the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and team leader of the Philippines’ national commodity research and development teams for legumes, vegetables and root crops before assuming leadership of ISAAA’s South East Asia Center in 1998. He also was involved in assessing the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Dr. Hautea went on to become global coordinator of ISAAA, a non-profit organization engaged in facilitating the assessment, acquisition, transfer and management of biotechnology applications for the benefit of developing countries. ISAAA operates principally in Southeast Asia and East Africa and is instrumental in tracking the cultivation of biotech crops throughout the world, annually releasing a report that documents the adoption of biotechnology by farmers across the globe, especially in developing nations.

“Randy was an inspiration to all of us who worked in crop biotechnology in developing countries,” said Dr. Tony Shelton, a Cornell entomologist who collaborated with Dr. Hautea on several scientific papers. “He and his wife Des were a dynamic force, showing us all what can be accomplished with dedication, hard work and knowledge.”

As a staunch advocate for biotechnology, Dr. Hautea served on the advisory board of the Cornell Alliance for Science, a global communications and training initiative that seeks to promote access to scientific innovation as a means of enhancing food security, improving environmental sustainability and raising the quality of life globally.

“Randy was deeply committed to our mission, which was reflected in his own life’s work,” said Dr. Sarah Evanega, director of the Alliance. “In honor of his memory, and his great contributions to crop biotechnology, we will name a Randy A. Hautea Global Leadership Fellow from the Philippines to attend our training course this fall.”

In addition to his wife, Dr. Hautea is survived by his daughter, Samantha, a communications specialist at Cornell University who is a member of the IP-CALS staff.

-Written by Joan Conrow in Cornell Alliance for Science.  See original article link here.

ISAAA Brief 53-2017: Executive Summary

Biotech Crop Adoption Surges as Economic Benefits 
Accumulate in 22 Years

INTRODUCTION

Biotech crops in the last 22 years of commercialization have brought immense economic benefits, health improvement and social gains which should be shared with the global community. Accurate information on the benefits and potentials of biotech crops will allow farmers and consumers to make informed-choice in what crops to grow and consume, respectively; policy makers and regulators to craft enabling biosafety guidelines for commercialization and adoption of biotech crops; and science communicators and the media to facilitate dissemination of the benefits and potentials of the technology. Read more

ISAAA BRIEF 53-2017: Press Release

ISAAA BRIEF 53-2017: Press Release

Biotech Crop Adoption Leads to Greater Sustainability and Socioeconomic Opportunities for Global Farmers and Citizens

Two new studies show continued environmental and social benefits of biotech crop use and adoption

(June 26, 2018) – Today, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and PG Economics, Ltd. released new studies highlighting the continued social, environmental and economic benefits of the global adoption of biotechnology in agriculture. Read more

LiDAR-based Technology: Newest Technique in Gathering Phenotypic Traits of Plants

To meet the expected increase in food demand globally by 2050, researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have devised a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-based technique to collect the physical traits of organisms through firing pulse laser lights at surfaces of plants: stalks, ears, and leaves.

Read more

Will Gene Editing and Other New Breeding Techniques Provide a ‘Second Chance’ for Worldwide Embrace of Genetically Engineered Crops?

Responding to attacks from the anti-GMO movement,” an exasperated geneticist once said to me, “is like trying to stuff a squiggly octopus into a small box; whenever you think you’ve got it contained, you realize there is a tentacle dangling out somewhere.”

That was certainly the case in 2012. For the first time in years, the public debate over genetically engineered (GE) crops had begun to shift in the favor of science and an embrace of the safety of “GMOs” (a term coined by the anti-biotechnology movement to demonize genetic innovation; after all, who would want to eat a ‘modified organism’?!).

Read more

USDA’s Hands-off Approach to Gene-edited Crops Could Revolutionize Research and Development

The US Department of Agriculture’s recent decision to stay out of the business of regulating gene-edited crops could be a game changer for a sector long dominated by a handful of companies armed with massive research and development budgets.

Read more

CRISPR-Edited Rice Plants Produce Major Boost in Grain Yield

A team of scientists from Purdue University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop a variety of rice that produces 25-31 percent more grain and would have been virtually impossible to create through traditional breeding methods.

Read more

Rebooting Food: Finding New Ways to Feed the Future

Banana trees that fit in a test tube. Burgers made without a cow in sight. Fish farmed in the desert. Robots picking fruit.

Welcome to the brave new world of food, where scientists are battling a global time-bomb of climate change, water scarcity, population growth and soaring obesity rates to find new ways to feed the future.

Read more

Optimism high as Uganda’s biotech bill gets a “second chance”

Some Ugandan officials are optimistic that the nation’s biotechnology biosafety bill will soon pass, saying that President Museveni’s concerns have been addressed.“The president expressed concern on seven out of 44 clauses in the biosafety bill,” noted Kafeero Sekitoleko, chairman of Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee. “These have since been addressed and we’re ready to report back (to Parliament). I want to leave Uganda with a biosafety law by end of my term in May (2018).”After years of wrangling, Parliament passed the bill in October 2017. But President Museveni referred it to back to lawmakers in December, citing various concerns.

Other officials also sought to allay fears that the country may never have a biosafety law.

“The president’s issues with the biosafety bill have been addressed. So the bill will pass,” reiterated Christopher Kibazanga, state Minister for Agriculture.

His and other supportive voices were heard at the 3rd Biennial National Agricultural Biosciences Conference (NABIO) 2018, where Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, speaking at the official opening, assured guests that the Science and Technology Committee’s report on the bill would be tabled for debate before Parliament breaks off for the Easter holiday.

The announcement prompted jubilation from an evidently excited audience. Uganda’s pro-biotech community is now in a “fingers-crossed” mood as it eagerly awaits results from yesterday’s tabling of the report.

The two-day NABIO conference — organized by the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE), in cooperation with local and global partners in biotech and biosafety — attracted national and international scientists, policy makers, journalists, politicians, farmers and university students.

The biennial event provides a platform for dialogue among bioscience stakeholders to chart out the most strategic way to harness bioscience for national and regional economic transformation.

Almost naturally, Uganda’s biosafety law took center stage as different scientists shared updates on bioscience research and regulatory progress in different countries. The local audience, particularly farmers, expressed frustration about the protracted process of passing Uganda’s law.

“Last season alone, I lost seven acres to cassava brown streak disease (CBSD),” lamented Sarah Nabirye Kiirya, a farmer from Kinyomozi village in the Kiryandongo district in Western Uganda. “Please fast track the enactment of the biosafety law so farmers like me can access virus resistant GM cassava.”

Losses due to CBSD are estimated at $24.2 million annually.She and many other farmers also are recovering from a long drought and a fall armyworm (FAW) invasion that devastated crops countrywide in 2017.

In a bid to restore farmers’ yields, scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organization have since 2007 used genetic engineering to address viral diseases in cassava, bacterial wilt in bananas, drought and pest challenges in maize, nitrogen and water use efficiency in rice, and late blight disease in potatoes.

While Uganda has the highest number of genetically modified (GM) crops under field testing in Africa, efforts to get such products of modern agricultural technology into farmers’ fields have so far been stifled by the absence of an enabling national policy.

“It is very pernicious when everyone, especially non-scientists, claim scientific authority,” argued Amos Mandela, a Ugandan parliamentarian. He was addressing widespread misinformation circulated by anti-GMO and environmental groups, which has at least in part been responsible for the delayed passing of the biosafety law.

As the conference concluded, one overreaching sentiment remained: Is this it? Could this be the time when farmers like Sarah are finally given the opportunity to choose better performing GM crops? As it stands, they can only remain optimistic.

Written by Joshua Raymond Muhumuza in Cornell Alliance for Science. He is a research assistant with Uganda Biosciences Information Center. See original article link here.

Assessing Potential Impact of Bt Eggplants on Non-Target Arthropods in the Philippines

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, and Cornell University report on studies conducted in the Philippines over three cropping seasons with Bt eggplants expressing Cry1Ac for control of the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB), Leucinodes orbonalis, to examine potential effects on field abundance, community composition, structure and biodiversity of non target organisms, particularly non-target arthropod (NTA) communities. Read more

Ugandan media, scientists discuss opportunities and challenges for public awareness on GMOs

“Why does the public hear more of the myths and lies about genetically modified crops than the truth and facts that the scientists are so proud of?” asked Abalo Irene Otto, a freelance journalist with The Observer newspaper in Uganda. Read more

Forty years of data quantifies benefits of Bt corn adoption across multiple crops for the first time

University of Maryland researchers have pulled together forty years of data to quantify the effects of Bt field corn, a highly marketed and successful genetically engineered technology, in a novel and large-scale collaborative study. Other studies have demonstrated the benefits of Bt corn or cotton adoption on pest management for pests like the European corn borer or cotton bollworm in corn or cotton itself, but this is the first study to look at the effects on other offsite crops in North America. By tracking European corn borer populations, this study shows significant decreases in adult moth activity, recommended spraying regimens, and overall crop damage in vegetable crops such as sweet corn, peppers, and green beans. These benefits have never before been documented and showcase Bt crops as a powerful tool to reduce pest populations regionally thereby benefitting other crops in the agricultural landscape. Read more

High adoption of biotech crops recorded in 2016

In 2016, the global area of biotech crops reached 185.1 million hectares, according to a research paper authored by Drs. Rhodora Aldemita and Randy Hautea of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). The results of their study are published on February 2, 2018 in GM Crops and Food. Read more