Philippines: Biotechnology to expand to 10 poorest provinces

Apr. 11, 2007

The gains of biotechnology in the Philippines will be expanded to the 10 poorest provinces in the country.

In a recent national congress of Biotechnology Information and Organization Network (BIONet), Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary for policy and planning Josyline Javelosa said they will embark to maximize the benefits of agricultural innovations which focuses on the poorest provinces.

Javelosa said biotechnology has become a significant factor in increasing farmers income through wider propagation of new crop varieties developed through the use of genetic engineering, tissue culture and cross breeding which translate into higher yields, better-tasting and nutritious food, thus assuring incomes for direct producers.

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April 10, 2007 ARENA FORUM Page 10


The promotion of BIONet she said has become the magnet for Bio-Commerce Centers nationwide of crops, fruits and other agricultural products.

With research and development of products like rice, sugar, sweet sorghum, cassava, corn, papaya and even malunggay we now see the possibility that our farmers would enjoy comparative advantage vis--vis competing nations, she said.

But there are tasks to be done such as organizing more farmers to benefit from the products of biotechnology that requires a lot of convincing and arguing to encourage more producers to accept the legitimacy, viability and necessity of biotechnology products.

She however said that biotechnology has already been accepted in areas like Negros Oriental, in Laguna, Southern Luzon, Northern Luzon, Central Luzon, Caraga region, Mindoro, Bulacan, the two Lanao provinces, Nueva Viscaya, and Davao.

She cited in particular the high demand in both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries for natural ingredients like papain from papaya which the nation would soon be a key player in the multibillion-dollar global industry.

With the promotion of biotechnology products and the pledge of companies to market natural ingredients and processed biotechnology products, the Philippines in the future would have a distinct advantage and higher market share in the global market, she added. (PIA XI/prixdbanzon).

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