February 2, 2023

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“Progressing GMO rules to improve food security”

Bayer Philippines Inc. (Bayer) hopes the national government’s regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) remain “progressive” to ensure the timely release of new seed technologies that could bolster the country’s food security.

Bayer CEO Angel Michael Evangelista said the country’s biotechnology regulatory practices are “advanced” compared to those of ASEAN peers and provide technology developers with an efficient research and development climate.

“It is advanced compared to ASEAN and it is good that it is so that we can introduce our biotechnological technologies like our seeds. It’s actually very good,” Evangelista told BusinessMirror on the sidelines of the opening of the multinational’s PHP 750 million office in Taguig City.

Bayer currently has two biotech seed products on the market – DEKALB, a hybrid corn variety, and Arize, a hybrid rice variety.

“For both plants there will be new products in the pipeline that will have new properties. [We will also have] more advanced crop protection products,” Evangelista said.

Evangelista noted that the company’s new office would help develop its agriculture-focused products as it allows them to collaborate more efficiently online with farmers and technology developers.

The Philippines revised its biotechnology regulatory processes earlier this year after years of complaints and concerns from industry stakeholders about delayed approval of new technologies. (Related story:

The national government last month approved the commercial propagation of Bt eggplant, making it the third GM crop on the domestic commercial market after Bt corn and golden rice.

A report by the Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) earlier praised Bt eggplant approval, which has taken more than a decade to achieve, noting that it signals the Philippines’ commitment to end hunger and achieve food security through biotechnology .

Bt eggplant was the first genetically engineered crop approved for commercial propagation under the revised Biotechnology Regulations of the Philippines as set out in the Joint Department Circular 1 Series of 2021.

The Gain report, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service in Manila, pointed out that the approval of Bt eggplants, which are resistant to fruit and sprout borers, shows the Philippines’ commitment to fighting hunger to end and achieve food security.

“With approval for commercial cultivation, the Philippines will be better positioned to achieve the goal of sustainable development [SDG] 2: End hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture. Bt eggplants in particular will help the Philippines achieve targets 2.1, 2.3 and 2.4,” the report said.

Photo credit: www.dekalbasgrowdeltapine.com