The Department of Agriculture (DA) is preparing its regional offices to disseminate accurate information on biotech crops, so that negative perceptions against their promotion could be addressed.
Agriculture workers from the regional field offices (RFO) of the DA in Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon participated in a two-day workshop on biotech crops in San Fernando, Pampanga and Ilagan City, Isabela, respectively. The participants were briefed about the DA Biotech Program, biotech principles and applications, regulatory system, and locally developed biotechnology products such as Bt Talong (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Golden Rice.
Crispulo Bautista Jr., officer in charge and regional executive director of DA-Central Luzon, said it was imperative for agriculture workers to have accurate and useful information on biotechnology to ensure that the public receives factual and truthful information about biotechnology.
“I requested this biotech briefing for Region 3 from [former] director Mamaril so that our staff can learn about these technologies. Rest assured that the DA-RFO 3 (Central Luzon) will cascade the right information about biotechnology,” he said.
Safety, efficiency, effectiveness, market price and regulations of genetically modified organism crops and other biotech-related products were discussed.
Biotech products have to undergo rigorous and evidence-based assessments provided by the current regulatory system to be considered safe and effective, the resource speakers, including Segfredo Serrano, emphasized.
Serrano, the retired DA undersecretary for policy, planning, project development and research, also urged participants to engage and empower farmers to make evidence-based decisions on the use of biotech products in improving their livelihood.
“[Our regulatory system ensures] that only biotechnology initiatives that can benefit our people, demonstrate environmental integrity and respect farming practices will be approved. Our farmers [need] to have appreciation of science, so that they won’t have a culture of fear,” he said.
The DA-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), the Philippine Rice Research Institute and the International Rice Research Institute led the initiative.
DA-BPO plans to continue coordinating with the other regional offices of the Agriculture department to conduct more biotech seminars and training to bridge the information gap among agriculture workers.
Written by Conrad M. Cariño in The Manila Times. Read original article here.