FarmerTalk: Development of Information, Education, and Communication materials highlighting biotech contributions to farmer success

Quick Facts:

  • 15 December 2021 to 31 October 2022
  • CropLife Asia
  • Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam

Background

Through the years, numerous farmers have already benefited from innovations in the field of agriculture. This impact must be readily communicated to farmers in the hopes of encouraging them to embrace these technologies that are profitable, healthy, and safe for both people and the planet.

In the early 1990s, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country to develop a biotechnology regulatory system through the establishment of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) through the issuance of Executive Order No. 430. This science-based regulatory system has become a model for neighboring countries in the region who are interested in producing agricultural biotechnology crops.

In 2003, the Philippines also became the first SEA country to commercialize and plant a biotech crop, Bt corn. Today, it has an adoption rate of more than 97 percent with more than 630,000 hectares were planted with biotech corn. From 2003 to 2016, this led to an estimated farm level economic benefit reaching to USD 724 million. These immense economic gains are continuously benefiting more than 470,500 farmers and their families. Today, other biotech crops that can potentially lead to other benefits remain in the pipeline.

Other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam have also benefitted from adopting biotech crops, recording a double-digit growth rate in biotech crop areas in 2019. The high cost of imported maize along with the rising fall army worm incidence increased the biotech maize area to 92,000 hectares. Meanwhile, Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture has already granted feed safety approval to the drought tolerant sugarcane, the first genetically modified crop in the country. Research initiatives on various biotech crops such as virus resistant tomato and late blight resistant potato among others are also being conducted in Indonesia.

Rationale

Biotechnology remains to be a promising solution in solving increasingly complex societal problems like agricultural sustainability, and climate change, made even more challenging by continuously expanding human population. Its application offers a wide range of promising opportunities for boosting agricultural productivity, contributing to the national economy, and most importantly in improving the lives of farmers and farming families in Southeast Asia.

However, much needs to be done in highlighting the impact that products of biotech have delivered in the past years. There is no better way to do this by hearing it from farmers themselves who have experienced first-hand the benefits of using biotech crops. Presently, CropLife Asia has four countries with existing two-pagers on farmer testimonies that need to be updated – this includes that for the Philippines. New ones will also have to be developed for other countries including Indonesia, and Vietnam.

The materials produced may be housed in SEARCA's AFNR Knowledge Platform as part of readily available communication materials for farmers.

Objectives

This project aims to communicate the impacts and contributions of biotech crops in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam using farmer success stories in print and video formats.

Expected Outputs

  • Preparation of interview guide questions and templates
  • Interview with farmers from Indonesia (1), the Philippines (4), and Vietnam (2).
  • Print-ready write-ups based on interview sessions
    • For Philippines, English version only
    • For Vietnam and Indonesia, English and local language Translation to English c/o SEARCA
    • Final product to be approved by SEARCA and CLA
  • Videos of farmer success stories
    • Farmer shall speak in local language with subtitles in English (Subtitles to be done in collaboration with CropLife/SEARCA scholar)
    • Full video shall be 6-8 minutes long which can be uploaded in websites of SEARCA
      • PH: Interviews will be done on-site, with IFARM (c/o CLA/CLP)
      • ID: Interviews to be done on-site or through Zoom/Online
      • VN: Interviews will be done on-site, with CLV
    • SEARCA to identify highlights of the interview and trim to make a short (2-3 min) versions for social media uses.
    • Final product to be approved by SEARCA and CLA