“Progressive GMO Rules for Enhancing Food Security”

Bayer Philippines Inc. (Bayer) that national government regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) remain “progressive” to ensure the timely release of new seed technologies that can enhance the country’s food security.

Angel Michael Evangelista, managing director of Bayer, said the country’s regulatory actions on biotechnology are “progressive” compared to those of their ASEAN counterparts, providing technology developers with an efficient R&D climate.

“It’s progressive compared to ASEAN and it’s good that it is so that we can introduce our biotechs, like our seeds. It’s actually very good,” Evangelista told BusinessMirror on the sidelines of the opening of the £750m multinational office in Taguig City.

At present, Bayer has two biotechnology products on the market – DEKALB, a corn hybrid cultivar and Arize, a rice hybrid cultivar.

“There will be new products in the pipeline for both crops, which will have new attributes. [We will also have] Crop protection products are more advanced,” Evangelista said.

Evangelista noted that the company’s new office will contribute to the development of its agricultural-focused products, allowing it to conduct more efficient online collaboration with farmers and technology developers.

The Philippines earlier this year revised its biotechnology regulatory procedures after years of complaints and concerns from industry stakeholders regarding late approvals of new technologies. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/01/03/phl-to-roll-out-in-2022-revised-biotech-setup-to-fast-track-approvals/)

Last month, the national government approved the commercial breeding of Bt eggplant, making it the third GM crop on the domestic commercial market after Bt corn and golden rice.

The Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report earlier hailed the approval of Bt eggplant, which took more than a decade to prepare, noting that it signals the Philippines’ commitment to ending hunger and achieving food security through biotechnology.

The Bt eggplant was the first GM crop approved for commercial breeding under revised biotechnology rules in the Philippines as stipulated in Joint Management Notice No. 1 of 2021.

The Gain Report, prepared by the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Services in Manila, notes that the approval of Bt eggplant, which is resistant to fruit and shoot borer, shows the Philippines’ commitment to ending hunger and achieving food security.

“By approving commercial agriculture, the Philippines will be in a better position to achieve the goal of sustainable development [SDG] 2: Ending hunger, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Specifically, Bt eggplant will contribute to the Philippines achieving targets 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4,” the report said.

Image credits: www.dekalbasgrowdeltapine.com

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