Genetically Modified Crops Better than Traditional Varieties

As part of the Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange 2009, Scientists have confirmed the advantages of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn and genetically modified (GM) crops over traditional strains in a seminar held at the Linden Suites in Ortigas Center.

An expert in plant pathology, Dr. Violeta Villegas said that Bt corn has been genetically modified to resist the Asiatic corn borer, a pest that has ravaged corn plantations in the past.

Apart from the improved quality of harvest, she added that Bt corn reduces the use of pesticides, which also slashes the production cost of farmers.

Dr. Vic Alpuerto of Monsanto said the current trend is for farmers to adopt corn varieties that are herbicide-tolerant.

He added that as of last year, approved biotech products have been planted in 400,000 hectares of land by 145,000 farmers.

Alpuerto emphasized that planting herbicide-tolerant corn reduces the current levels of loss at 22 during the dry planting season and 46 percent for the wet planting season.

Dr. Saturnina Halos, chair of the biotechnology advisory team of the Department of Agriculture, said farmers stand to benefit from the use of genetically modified crops. They emphasized that farmers are the biggest beneficiaries of this Bt and GM technologies. [via]

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