The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Biotech Program Office (BPO) and Biotech Coalition of the Philippines (BCP) spearheaded the "Webinar on Pinoy Biotech Crops" on November 17, 2021, as part of the celebration of the 2021 National Biotechnology Week (NBW).
The Presidential Proclamation No. 1414, series of 2007, states that the DA, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Education (DepED) shall collaborate in the annual commemoration of biotechnology every last week of November.
This year, the DILG chairs the 2021 NBW with the theme “Kapit-Bisig na Pagtutulungan, Bioteknolohiya ating Paghusayan,” which aims to commemorate the unified efforts and strides of biotechnology towards addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty.
DA, for its part, expressed full support to the celebration as the department recognizes the contribution of biotechnology in food, agriculture, fisheries, and marginalized sectors’ economic development. “Biotechnology has made significant milestones in the world economy to which if adopted in the Philippines, can help in attaining food security and sustainable economic development,” said DA Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and Research Fermin Adriano, who also chairs the steering committee on DA Biotech Program.
ATI remains committed in bringing the biotechnology extension support services to the agricultural extension workers of the local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders through advocacy campaigns and partnerships. “Through the collaboration of our international agricultural research institutions, national research agencies, and industry partners, these technologies were successfully realized, exhibiting promising results. It is rightful, therefore, that these knowledge products are disseminated for practical use,” ATI OIC-Director Rosana Mula said.
For this year’s webinar, the guest speakers are experts from the biotechnology field. They discussed modern biotechnology (Dr. Saturnina Halos), and locally developed transgenic crops which include Golden Rice (Dr. Reynante Ordonio), Bt Eggplant (Dr. Desiree Hautea and Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo), and Bt Cotton (Dr. Edison Riñen).
More than 150 agricultural extension workers (AEWs) nationwide participated in the said activity; coming from the ATI network of Training Centers, LGUs, national government agencies, and private sector.
The participants were grateful for the knowledge they gained from the webinar, which they can use to educate farmers as well as other agricultural stakeholders in their respective areas. Jessamine Vea, Provincial Corn Coordinator of Agusan Del Sur said, “This webinar has educated me on the positive impact of biotechnology that is beneficial in delivering extension services properly to the farmers. With all the knowledge acquired from this webinar, you can expect us (AEWs) to transfer all the necessary information to the farmers. Also, this has been one of the most informative trainings that I have ever attended as it is well-organized, and is responsive to the participants’ needs.”
Marya Villaganas, Provincial Corn Coordinator of Cebu, and Engr. Ramiel Fabon, AEW from Sta, Maria, Romblon, also expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the webinar. They testified that the said activity has been informative and has inspired them more in bringing the knowledge down to their respective constituents.
“Hearing this, we are optimistic that this webinar will not only elevate participants’ understanding about biotechnology, but will also influence action—to boost stakeholders’ confidence and trust towards biotechnology, not only in farming and food consumption but also in other facets of life,’’ Director Mula concluded.