Biotech Crops: Need to Develop in RP

Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco of University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) said that the country must utilize biotechnology to expand crops set to face climate change as well as create marginal productive.

In addition, the chancellor said that biotechnology is an advantage to an agricultural country like the Philippines and it must utilize its processes to guarantee food security in the long run, lessen dependence on imported inputs and even develop a fungus discovered by agricultural scientists that feeds on plastics.

As the world turns into the process of commercialization, Biotechnology can assure us of a certain control in quality and costs among natural, living things. This is what biotechnology is really about. It is the new economic revolution at its birth. Born in nature’s hands, but helped by man and his science.

Velasco also stressed out the following areas in biotechnology which needs concentration:

  • First, it should develop microbial fertilizers. “With petrol-based fertilizers on their way out, both in availability and costs, BioN and MicroVAM should be further developed for widespread farm use to replace expensive, and usually imported, fertilizers. These technologies are already available. But we have to support them with a focus and a commitment,” he added.
  • Second, it should start breeding crops in response to global climate change. “The fact of unpredictable environments is upon us. Some we brought about, some purely natural and irrevocable. There are new plant diseases these changes will bring about; there will be leaching of products we have imposed on our environments. These are truths and these are facts. We have to be ready to contend and address them. The seeds have been discovered. What we need to do is propagate and disperse them. Drought-resistant breeds, saline-resistant breeds, flood-resistant strains, we have them all today. If we do not propagate their use, they will be wasted,” he said.
  • Third and last, the country must breeding crops to make use of marginal lands. “Even without climate change, we have not learned to use our marginal lands. These are the lands that are not of the best quality, but can be made productive just the same. Our many years in research show us that there is a way to make them productive. We must find the crops that will make our farmers live and prosper. And we must find the way to make these crops available to our farmers in their most effective form,” he noted.

The ideas of Velasco are expected to help in saving the environment. [via uplb.edu.ph]