Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

Biotech breakthroughs in agri deemed vital for food security

Author: DA-AFID | 24 November 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Biotechnology Program Office (BPO) showcased various biotechnology studies, products, and applications that help ensure food security and food safety for Filipinos during the opening of the 18th National Biotechnology Week celebration in Pasay City on November 21, 2022.

The event themed: “Responding to the Challenges: Business Opportunities in Biotechnology,” will likewise showcase webinars, technical fora, and technology exhibits until Friday, November 25.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual who graced the opening ceremonies stressed that capitalizing on  biotechnology will improve food production in the country.

“Effectively harnessing biotechnology will increase our agricultural productivity, allow us to achieve food security and modernize our industry and services sectors,” he said.

Secretary Pascual also discussed biotechnology’s breakthrough products and technologies that have multifaceted and cross-cutting benefits including enhancing crop varieties, improving livestock production, production of biofertilizers and biofuels, and allowing the creation or strengthening of links in the global value chains, among others.

“Biotechnology can help solve the country’s food security issues affected by increased population and climate crisis-affected agriculture,” he added.

In addition, he said that biotech companies and businesses can rely on with the government in creating an enabling environment for biotechnology- and innovation-driven activities especially those related to food security and research and development to thrive and become globally competitive.

“We at DTI regard modern biotechnology as a vital tool to achieve the primary agenda of this new administration – economic recovery and transformation,” Secretary Pascual said.

Through the Republic Act 11534 or the “Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises” (CREATE) Act, the said firms may avail of tax incentives and other benefits.

The DA, on the other hand, supports various projects that will make the agriculture and fisheries sector more competitive and ensure food security. The DA-BPO encourages and funds studies and projects that generate improved agri-fishery products and processes, among others.

“This year’s theme aims to foreground wealth generating opportunities in biotechnology with its vast applications in agriculture and fisheries, human health, industry, and environment,” DA-BPO Director Claro Mingala expressed.

Last year, the DA inaugurated its Crop Biotechnology Center located at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), wherein high-yielding, early-maturing, resilient, nutritious, and cost-efficient crop varieties will be developed.

It also launched the “Golden Rice,” which is vitamin A-enriched and a product of biotechnology, for commercial propagation making the Philippines the first country in South and Southeast Asia to approve the planting of genetically modified rice.

The DA offices including the PhilRice, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) also have their stalls of techo-products available during the National Biotechnology Week.

Follow for more updates on the DA’s biotechnology initiatives. (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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