DA Urged To Release Permits Of More Bt Corn Varieties

Bt corn harvest being dried in a concrete  pavement. More varieties to choose from are needed by the farmers.
Bt corn harvest being dried in a concrete pavement. More varieties to choose from are needed by the farmers.
The Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. (PhilMaize) has urged the Department of Agriculture to release for some Bt corn varieties so the farmers can have more choices of varieties to plant. PhilMaize president Roger Navarro fears that if some Bt corn varieties are not available this planting season, total corn production would surely go down. He said that the recent El Niño had brought down to 2.1 million MT the first quarter harvest of 2016. The production during the same period last year was 2.37 MT or 12.4 % higher than the first quarter of 2016.

Navarro explained that “with the worsening climate variability and more rainfall this rainy season, certain corn traits are needed to ensure we have robust yields while ensuring the income of farmers come harvest time. Farmers can assess for themselves which seeds will grow best in their farms. Thus, farmers should always be given the freedom to choose what they think is best for them.”

He cited two Bt corn which are preferred during this planting season- MON 89034 and NK 603. These
are resistant to corn borer, cutworm and earworm. Corn borer damage could cause 24$ loss in income; earworm 14%, and cutworm 18%.

Corn plays an important role in ensuring food security because it is a major component of animal feed. It takes about five kilos of animal feed to produce one kilo of meat. And one kilo of animal feed is made up of 40% corn.

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