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29-January-2010 Philippine Information Agency
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Modern Biotechnology and Agriculture: A History of the Commercialization of Biotech Maize in the Philippines

Quezon City (29 January) -- A highly informative book on the history of commercialization of Biotech Maize in the Philippines written by noted scientists and professionals in the agriculture sector was recently launched in Manila.

The book titled "Modern Biotechnology and Agriculture: A History of the Commercialization of Biotech Maize in the Philippines," by Dr. Leonardo A. Gonzales, Dr. Emil Q. Javier, Dr. Dolores A. Ramirez, Dr. Flerida Cariño, and Mr. Arthur Baria discusses modern biotechnology as it narrates the events preceding the safe commercialization of GM Corn in the Philippines.

The book vividly recounts the successes and challenges behind the commercialization of Bt corn and provides insight on the collective effort of government, scientists, members of the academia and the media, industry associations and groups, including corn farmers to foster public understanding and acceptance of modern biotechnology.

Published by the Society Towards Reinforcing Inherent Viability for Enrichment (STRIVE) Foundation, the book, which is written for easy understanding by non-technical readers, is organized into nine chapters. The first chapter deals with the structures and protocols established in the Philippines for the introduction, testing and propagation up to the commercialization of biotech products.

Chapter 2 and 3 provide the technical details of Bt corn and herbicide tolerant corn NK603 and how they complied with the stringent biosafety risk assessments of the National ommittee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP). Chapter 4 discusses the need for public information on biotechnology and the struggles of both anti and pro-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) during the process of commercial approvals.

Meanwhile, chapter 5 describes the corn farming systems within the context of Philippine agriculture while chapters 6 and 7 provide the determinants for GM corn adoption and the empirical evidence on better performance of GM corn over ordinary hybrid in terms of yield, net farm income, subsistence level carrying capacity, global competitiveness and return on investment. Chapter 8 deals with the technological challenges to Philippine crop agriculture and discusses the great potential offered by biotechnology. Finally, the last chapter of the book, proposes policy measures that are vital to optimize benefits offered by biotechnology, especially the corn sector.

Government has been fully supportive of responsible use of biotechnology as a tool to modernize Philippine agriculture. Furthermore, the strong campaign to be food secure has resulted in non-government and private institutions rallying behind the safe and responsible use of modern biotechnology. This is reinforced by testimonies of resource poor farmers on the positive impact in their livelihood of biotechnology products.

The book is a good read, especially for policy-makers, government officers and private individuals in the agriculture sector, members of the corn industry, members of the academia and the scientific community, and policy makers. Limited copies of the book are available at SIKAP/STRIVE Foundation Office. Please contact Joyce Ignacio at (049)536-5535 or e-mail (STRIVE/SIKAP Foundation)

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