Print this newsprint this news, exclude masthead and left navigation
13-March-2009 Malaya
View source

MARAWI CITY - The Department of Agriculture and the Mindanao State University (MSU) are collaborating to help reinvigorate the troubled abaca industry in the south which used to be a big foreign exchange earner through a newly-developed biotechnology variety that has been proven to be resistant to deadly viruses.

Director Alicia Ilaga of the DA Biotechnology Program cited during the recent launching of the Biotechnology Information and Resource Center at the MSU main campus cited that the virus resistant abaca developed by the panel of experts led by Dr. Antonio Lalusin of the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of Plant Breeding in Los could be the solution to fast deteriorating abaca industry, particularly in central Mindanao.

Dr. Macapado A. Muslim, the MSU president, acknowledged the need for abaca growers to pursue agricultural modernization in Mindanao, which continues to be plagued by deadly mosaic, bract mosaic and the bunchy-top viruses which had earlier crippled the Bicol region. Bicol used to be the country’s biggest abaca producer.

Initially, Muslim has proposed the setting up a of tissue culture laboratories to be hosted by the MSU system, to propagate the newly-developed biotech abaca variety.

Ilaga said that Mindanao can fast rehabilitate the dwindling abaca industry, with its vast areas suitable to abaca plantations to meet the country’s export demand.

While Bicol accounts for 66 per cent or 52,666 hectares of total abaca area mapped by the DA, it also reported a 27 percent incidence of viral diseases prompting government to look at Eastern Visayas to augment the abaca needs of the country.

But Muslim noted that given the necessary funding for research and development, the MSU can promote truly Filipino biotechnology products starting with the virus-resistant abaca.

He offered to mobilize the 21 agriculture scientists of the MSU College of Agriculture in Marawi to step up government’s efforts in modernizing agriculture in the south. It was gathered that MSU has already submitted 36 project proposals for research and development projects to boost agriculture modernization in the south.

"Given the continuously increasing population in the country, biotechnology is an option" to meet the country’s food demands, Muslim said

Ilaga said that DA Undersecretary Segefredo Serrano will meet with the MSU officials to map out possible collaboration efforts in promoting abaca and other biotechnology crops.

Print this newsprint this news, exclude masthead and left navigation

SEAMEO SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
Other News
  'Super Carabaos': A whole lot more of beef, milk
  The carabao gets an 'upgrade' thru crossbreeding
  Antibacterial med from milkfish bile bags top prize in national science tilt
  Philippine researchers develop food pathogen detection kit
  Ifugao rice terraces declared GMO-free zone
  Filipino expert in biotechnology slams negative campaign
  Government urged to revolutionize biotech policies
  Biotech abaca eyed to boost ailing industry
  Dupont partners with IRRI to boost rice yield
  More biotech knowledge sharing to boost food security
  More news...