The international agricultural community including the Philippines significantly increased its adoption of crop varieties processed through modern biotechnology.
This was disclosed at a recent briefing for media conducted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research on Agriculture (SEARCA), the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and other agriculture research agencies.
The SEARCA briefing revealed, as of 2013, that some 800,000 hectares of farmland in the country are already planted with the pesticide-free biotech corn variety, up from 750,000 hectares in 2012. The feat placed the Philippines in the number 12 spot among the world’s top users of biotech crop varieties, SEARCA explained.
The ISAAA meanwhile reported that some 18 million farmers in 27 countries have now adopted biotech crops as of 2013. The total size of farmlands planted to these pesticide-free varieties has also increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013, the ISAAA report said.
“The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 40 percent of the total global hectares,” the ISAAA report added.
“Growth in developing countries continues to expand,” the report said. Latin American, Asian and African farmers collectively grew 54 percent of global biotech crop hectares in 2013, up by two percent from 2012.
During the same briefing, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Research and Development Dr. Segfredo Serrano explained how biotech crops and modern technologies are helping Philippine farmers increase productivity and revenues while protecting the environment. He also emphasized the safety of the technology and the “rigorous safety assessments and the national regulatory system for biotech products.