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To promote the new technology to farmers
by Joe Galvez
25-August-2005 Manila Bulletin

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – In an effort to tap biotechnology for countryside growth, local officials of Nueva Vizcaya’s 15 municipalities decided to create the first task force on biotechnology, which the national government considers as a priority program fro agricultural development.

The move to create the first task force advocating the use of biotechnology was initiated by Solano Councilor Clarita Calica during a two-day seminar-workshop conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Implementation Unit (DA-PIU) at Villa Margarita Resort in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

Calica said that while the task force’s primary concern is to coordinate with biotechnology experts of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to address issues and concerns about the scientific processes, the team force will also serve as a technical working group on biotechnology in the province.

She said the task force will be composed of local government officials as well as municipal and provincial agricultural officers. It will tap the contribution of the academe and religious sector.

“We will promote not only the technology but the products as well”, Calica said. “We will also make sure that the technology is well understood by the stakeholders and the end users.”

She said the task force is mandated to monitor and evaluate reports of incidents regarding biotechnology and to submit reports to the DA for validation and action.

Provincial Board Member Glenn Afan lauded the group’s effort to make biotechnology more accessible to farmers who wish to avail themselves of the technology to increase their harvest.

As the principal author of Resolution No. 2005-238 requesting the DA to provide technical information and service to the provincial government on biotechnology, Afan hailed the group’s plant to disseminate biotechnology information to the farmers and entrepreneurs.

“I have heard so much about biotechnology, that is why I suggested to the provincial government that we seek the assistance of the DA in availing this technology so our farmers will benefit from it,” Afan said. “I believe that this effort will be a big help to the farmers especially the marginalized ones.”

Nueva Viscaya Vice Gov. Jose Gambito said the creation of the task force on biotechnology is an opportunity for everybody to learn more of the technology.

He said that in Nueva Vizcaya, the provincial government is focused on upgrading agriculture as a profession, whether the stakeholder is a teacher, a tricycle driver or a government employee.

“Since we are an agricultural land, we should really look into the technology and its benefits,” Gambito said.

He said that the provincial government is open with regards to this development particularly in the shift from the regular use of chemical fertilizers to biotech fertilizers.

“This is a landmark for biotechnology and agriculture,” DA-PIU Director Alice Ilaga said. “This is the first time we are creating a task force not only to promote it but to sustain it as well.”

Ilaga said that the movers in the province will help the DA identify those who are directly involved. She called the task force members as “the pillars of biotech” in the province.

In the last four years, the DA has been in the thick of advocating the use of biotechnology and has tapped non-government organization and local officials for the efforts to promote the technology to farmers.

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