Philippines among the world’s ‘mega’ biotech crop producers

Technology News

By Edd K. Usman on March 6th, 2014 under Technology Milestones

Philippines among the world’s ‘mega’ biotech crop producers

The Philippines has landed in the ranks of the 19 “mega-countries” which are growing 50,000 hectares or more of biotechnology (biotech) crops.

In the country’s case, only biotech (Bt) corn, the yellow variety, is being planted by farmers, but they have earlier expressed willingness to adopt Bt cotton, Bt eggplant, and Gold Rice, which are in the pipeline, once the genetically modified (GM) crops are ready for commercialization. There are now 800,000 hectares being planted, as of 2013, by biotech-adopting farmers in the country, a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), pointed out.

ISAAA’s report is called the “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2013″ made public on Feb. 13, 2014. Of the 27 countries growing the still highly-controversial GM crops, the Philippines ranked No. 12. A total of 19 of the 27 countries are dubbed “mega-countries” in relation with the adoption by land area of commercial biotech crops, which have at least 50,000 hectares or more of farm lands planted with GM maize, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, squash, or soybean.

ISAAA’s report cited the future prospects of biotech crops. “In the scientific community associated with biotechnology, there is cautious optimism that biotech crops, including both staple and orphan crops, will be increasingly adopted by society, particularly by the developing countries, where the task of feeding its own people is formidable, given that the global population, most of whom will be in the South, will exceed 10 billion by the turn of the century in 2100,” it said. It added that yesterday’s technology cannot feed tomorrow’s world. The United States, which has adopted maize, cotton, canola, sugar beet, alfalfa, papaya, and squash, ranks No. 1 with 70.1 million hectares; Brazil, second, 40.3 million hectares; Argentina, third, 24.4 million hectares; India, fourth, 11 million hectares; Canada, fifth, 10.8 million hectares. China, at sixth, with 4.2 million hectares, has 7.5 million small farmers who produced US$15.3 billion biotech crops – cotton, maize, soybean, and sugar beet.