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NCGA helps maintain strong biotech acceptance in the Philippines
05-April-2012 National Corn Growers Association via AgProfessional
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This week, NCGA is participating in the New Development in GM Crop Farming meeting held in Manila, Philippines celebrating the tenth anniversary of the country's adoption of this important form of technology. Considered the most progressive country in terms of biotech adoption, officials from the government of the Philippines, major technology companies and other stakeholders, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are meeting to look at ways to maintain the foothold for biotech adoption in the Asian Pacific region gained here a decade ago.

"Our Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team constantly works to promote the adoption of biotech regulations in foreign markets very similar to those in place here," said NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields, who serves as one of the staff leads for that team. "Our grower leaders have set a strong path for our work in overseas markets, clearly placing a high priority on the promotion of regulations based in sound science. This is because they understand, like anyone looking at this situation objectively, that scientific inquiry has demonstrated time-and-again the safety and effectiveness of these products."

Throughout the meeting, government officials have proudly highlighted the science-based acceptance of biotechnology underpinning their regulatory system. Locally, work on biotech varieties of golden rice, papaya and eggplant is underway.

Organizers invited NCGA to participate by explaining the association's role in promoting biotech acceptance, presenting information on how biotechnology has increased production efficiency in the United States and speaking about strategies and tactics used in educating growers on proper stewardship of these traits, particularly in promoting insect resistance management compliance. Fields has already spoken on NCGA's organizational mission, goals and structure, U.S. corn production, biotech adoption and on IRM and refuge compliance outreach measures.

"The government here is creating IRM regulations for its native products right now, and this has spurred their growing interest in the practices that have been most effective elsewhere," said Fields. "But, in the Philippines, they are not only adopting outside practices. They are also exploring new areas of IRM maintenance as they develop guidelines for eggplant varieties. We are glad to share our experience with corn, while observing how they tackle applying new and existing tactics to an entirely new genre."

The meeting is being hosted jointly by the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, who are also sponsoring NCGA participation in the event.

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