Farmers are continuing to rapidly adopt Bt eggplant (brinjal) in Bangladesh, resulting in reduced pesticide use and higher incomes, according to a new paper authored by scientists involved in developing and releasing the pioneering genetically modified crop.
Taking serious steps to embrace genetically engineered (GE) technology, the Philippines aims to kickstart the commercialization of the first GE food crop to get approval for environmental release by next year.
Ansar Ali earned just 11,000 taka – about $130 U.S. dollars – from eggplant he grew last year in Bangladesh. This year, after planting Bt eggplant, he brought home more than double that amount, 27,000 taka. It’s a life-changing improvement for a subsistence farmer like Ali.
Bt eggplant, or brinjal as it’s known in Bangladesh, is the first genetically engineered food crop to be successfully introduced in South Asia. Bt brinjal is helping some of the world’s poorest farmers to feed their families and communities, improve profits and dramatically reduce pesticide use. That’s according to Tony Shelton, Cornell professor of entomology and director of the Bt brinjal project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Shelton and Jahangir Hossain, the country coordinator for the project in Bangladesh, lead the Cornell initiative to get these seeds into the hands of the small-scale, resource-poor farmers who grow a crop consumed daily by millions of Bangladeshis.
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
University of Minnesota researchers are working with a team of experts from the U.S., Indonesia and Bangladesh to make a genetically-modified potato. Read more
The cultivation of genetically engineered (GMO) crops hit record levels in 2016, with 18 million farmers planting 185.1 million hectares of biotech crops globally, according to a new report.
DEALING with controversies can be stressful and migraine inducing. Still, I welcome heated discussions over certain topics if only because it will give light and popularize what was once obscure but nonetheless important issues. Take for instance the recent decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke the incorporation papers of online media site Rappler. Overnight, my social-media feeds are filled by posts of corporate law experts talking about Philippine Depositary Receipts and media ownership. Each posts will generate responses—and not just from lawyers or law students—either criticizing, defending or clarifying the SEC’s decision. Read more
While the country takes baby steps towards the development of genetically modified food (GMO) products, there’s one company that isn’t happy about it and another group even fears it could only be a temporary solution to the country’s problems in terms of food security.
AS we are bombarded by scare tactics against plants with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn and Bt eggplant, we do not realize that almost everything we eat, many of the medicines we take, the cotton-based apparel we wear, the detergents we use in washing clothes and many of the beverages and processed canned goods we take are already genetically modified (GM).
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that up to 35 percent of the losses in the annual crop production worldwide are due to pests—insects, weeds, plant diseases, rodents and birds. Of the estimated 1 million insects in the world, between 150 and 200 species frequently cause serious damage to crops.
When losses due to pests are combined with postharvest losses, worldwide food losses would amount to 45 percent. “This is almost one half of the world’s potential food supply,” the FAO pointed out. Read more
Agriculture could be defined as the manipulation of plant and animal DNA to suit the needs of humans. We have been changing the DNA of our food for 10,000 years. For most of agricultural history, we’ve had no idea what DNA changes occurred in our food. The discovery of recombinant DNA technologies in the 1970s began to change that. For the past 20 years we have been using genetic engineering (GE) to engineer precise DNA changes in our food.
The world’s pioneering organically-grown eggplant has been produced by Filipino breeders, ushering in a new agriculture age of nature-friendly, biodiversity-enhancing, and pesticide-free vegetable production.
Producing pesticide-free eggplants in the Philippines is now possible, according to field-trial reports released for the first time by the Institute of Plant Breeding-University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB).
Environmentalists have been expressing serious concerns about biological and health hazards the new breed of brinjal may pose
The government plans to incentivise farmers to produce more genetically modified (GM) brinjal despite not having conducted any tests on its possible impact on human health and the environment.
In its September 15 issue, the BusinessMirror cited diocesan priest Fr. Emmanuel Alparce, a member of the Department of Agriculture Biotech Program Technical Committee on Information, Education and Communication, who said that lawmakers should be open-minded about the biotechnological developments being conducted in the country that seek to curb poverty and improve the lives of Filipinos.
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—If there is anything that the people in the biotechnology sector have learned about the government process and public acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops, is the fact that whole thing is never easy.
The Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao (Vicsmin) in the Philippines has expressed its full support for the commercial planting of Bt eggplant in the country. This came after Vicsmin officers and members signed a one-page manifesto of support during the roundtable discussion on Bt Eggplant held on September 4, 2017 in Davao City. Vicsmin, a non-profit organization that advocates policies beneficial to the vegetable industry in the region, has 40 active member institutions and 20 individual farmers.
After a thorough discussion with Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, Bt eggplant study leader from the University of the Philippines Los Baños on the science, safety, and the potential actual benefits of modern biotechnology, Vicsmin in their one-page manifesto says: “We realize that Bt eggplant, which contains the gene similar to the insect-resistant Bt corn, can bring benefits to our communities such as higher yield and income, reduce chemical use, and improve environmental health. We believe that the Bt eggplant is a healthier and safer alternative solution against the relentless insect pest, the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB).”
Vicsmin President Gienovivo A. Cajes said, “If Bangladesh farmers are now planting Bt eggplant why can’t we plant it here?”
THE Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao (Vicsmin) has expressed its full support for the commercial planting of Bt eggplant in the country.
THROUGH a Joint Department Circular (JDC) empowering development of biotech crops in the country, biotech rice, papaya, cotton, and eggplant are expected to be fully implemented in local farms after most of the crops were already through with the field trial stages.