Farmers and stakeholders in the development of biotech crops
held a communication workshop in Cagayan de Oro City to sharpen
their skills in addressing biotech issues, particularly on Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant.
Held on April 26 and 27 at Pearlmont Inn, the workshop sought
to improve the ability of communicators to reply to issues thrown
by opponents of biotech crops.
Dr. Candida Adalla, chief of the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology
Program Office (DA-BPO), gave an overview of the government’s
biotechnology initiatives and highlighted the case of Bt eggplant
saying that “the efforts on Bt eggplant will hopefully
translate into benefits to Filipino farmers.”
The fruit-and-shoot borer-resistant (FSBR) Bt eggplant is being
developed by the University of the Philippine at Los Baños-Institute
of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB.)
Dr. Adalla added: “This [Bt eggplant] is not a technology
for planting tomorrow—it is still under experiment. That
is why I am wondering why studying is being opposed.”
Dr. Jane Reyes, University Extension Specialist at the Institute
of Strategic Planning and Policy Studies of UPLB, discussed
the nature and importance of science communication and imparted
helpful tips and lessons on how to write reply as answer questions
during panel interviews.
Message mapping, a useful tool in organizing ideas for inquiries
and similar situations, was discussed by Jenny Panopio of the
Southeast Asian Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture-Biotechnology
Information Center (SEARCA-BIC).
Dr. Rhodora Aldemita of the International Service for the Acquisition
of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA) provided the participants
with the basics and principles of biotechnology, as well as
the answers to frequently asked questions related to crop biotechnology.
The workshop was attended by members of the Asian Farmers Regional
Network (ASFARNET) Philippines, representatives from the Fertilizer
and Pesticide Authority and the Bureau of Plant Industry Plant
Quarantine Officers, the Philippine Information Agency, and
representatives from the University of Southern Mindanao and
UP-Mindanao, as well as DA regional offices and field units
The activity was organized by ASFARNET and DA Regional Office
10, in collaboration with DA-BPO, the Agricultural Biotechnology
Support Program II, ISAAA and SEARCA-BIC.