VEGETABLE GROWERS WELCOME BT CORN

Quezon City, May 24, 2003 -- Amid the increasing opposition to modern 
biotechnology, the Department of Agriculture has found an ally in vegetable 
and seed growers who rejected calls of some farmers and environmental 
activist groups to issue a moratorium on Bt corn propagation.

The Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA), a non-profit organization 
composed of vegetable and corn seed companies, threw its support to the 
DA's decision to stand by the Scientific and Technical Review Panel, which 
assessed the merits of Bt corn in the environment and health.

Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn is a genetically modified crop variety 
that supposedly is highly resistant to the Asiatic corn borer, the most 
prevalent corn pest in the country, at the same time increase yield up to 
six times than the traditional corn variety.

The DA has approved last April the application for massive propagation and 
commercialization of Yieldgard, the Bt corn produced by US-based 
agrochemical firm Monsanto, much to the objection of anti-GMO groups led by 
Greenpeace which claimed that the so-called "Frankenfood" pose harmful 
threats to health and the environment.

This eventually led to the holding of a hunger strike outside the DA 
compound. The strike lasted for 28 days that ended last May 20.

In a position paper, PSIA took note of "a very strict, science-based risk 
assessment and evaluation by numerous regulatory agencies and independent 
scientists."

PSIA president Dante Balbas further said Greenpeace and other groups 
opposed to GMOs have yet to present any science-based evidence that will 
bolster their claims of hazard caused by the Bt corn technology. (Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE