Training-workshop enlightens Ilocos farmers on biotech agriculture

Farmer-leaders from various parts of the province gathered together for a two-day training and to get to know more about modern biotechnology.

Organized by the Asian Farmer’s Regional Network (ASFARNET) Philippine chapter – an organization of farmers and interested stakeholders promoting the interests of the farmers through technology, knowledge, communication and exchange activities – the farmers IEC (Information, Education and Communication) training-workshop held at the Palacio de Laoag Hotel on May 3-4, provided participants with relevant information about biotechnology and served as an option for farmers to grow their income.

Biotechnology as applied in agriculture is a technique to transfer gene/s of interest to make better products.

For multi-awarded organic farmer Romeo Ganiron of Barangay Ben-agan, Batac City, the training is essential for them to become aware of the latest trends and developments in agriculture and to be able to come up with wise decision later on.

“Biotechnology is something we are also concerned about. But we need to know more of the benefits and disadvantages. Is this safe for the people and the environment? I am into organic farming and so far, I am happy of the result,” Ganiron said of his three-hectare integrated farm in Batac City, which is a model in organic farming technologies.

Backed by the National Food Authority, Philippine Rice Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, and the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Program, the biotech training for selected farmer-leaders here hoped to open up opportunities for all stakeholders.

Reynaldo Cabanao, president of ASFARNET Philippines, said Friday the farmer-led advocacy on biotech training specifically aims to enhance farmers understanding of modern biotech agriculture to help them make a position on the issues affecting their lives.

Confronted by issues on food security, or the need for affordable and sustainable food supply for the growing population, Edwin Paraluman of the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology told local farmers here a multi-locational demonstration farms will be established in various parts of the country for biotech farms.

In Ilocos Norte, PhilRice Batac is set to put up a demo farm on genetically-modified golden rice to help solve Vitamin A and mineral deficiencies, which is prevalent among children.

Other biotech crops such as corn and eggplant are being promoted for farmers nationwide to increase their yield and income.

“Biotechnology is an alternative for us to increase our yield. With the conversion of farmlands into residential houses, how are we going to feed our growing population?” said Paraluman, as he suggested one of the solutions is to apply modern biotechnology to produce more in a small area.


Originally published in Manila Bulletin. See original article link here.