PIA News Service - Saturday, May 21, 2011

Biotech forum updates key stakeholders on concepts, news technologies, initiatives

by Jenny A. Panopio and Sophia M. Mercado

BUTUAN CITY, May 21 -- Researchers, scientists, students, and academe members recently convened in a forum which aimed to provide the participants with the latest on modern biotechnology in the country as well as the basic concepts and applied information on biotechnology.

The Forum on Biotechnology: Breakthroughs in Science and Technology was held at the University of St. La Salle (USLS), Bacolod City, Negros Occidental last May 2, 2011 and was organized by the Philippine Phytopathological Society (PPS) in collaboration with USLS.

The speakers were from various science institutions, agencies, and organizations in the country. Ms. Jenny A. Panopio of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture – Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC) and Dr. Antonio A. Alfonso from the Philippine Rice Research Institute gave talks on the basic concepts and principles of molecular biology and biotechnology and application on crop varietal improvement, respectively.

Regulation, issues in commercialization and utilization, and the cost of developing biotech products were separately discussed by Ms. Ma. Lorelei Agbagala of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Dr. Randy A. Hautea of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), and Mr. Godfrey Ramon of the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP). Meanwhile, Dr. Angelina C. Mendoza-Garces of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) introduced the Philippine initiatives on modern biotechnology called "Philippine Agriculture and Forestry Biotechnology Agenda (PAFBA)" which are anchored on the national policies, thrusts, and needs of key stakeholders.

The forum was part of the efforts of the PPS as a professional organization to encourage the exchange of information and knowledge among various stakeholders related to science and technology. This activity was also supported by ISAAA, SEARCA BIC, BCP, Pioneer-Hi-bred Philippines, Monsanto Philippines, and Lineline Diagnostics Supplies. (DA-Biotech/PIA-Caraga)


Philippine lawmakers urge students to take up agricultural sciences

by Jenny A. Panopio and Sophia M. Mercado

BUTUAN CITY, May 21 --Several Philippine legislators recently stated the need for more science-oriented farmers and agriculturists.

The lawmakers noted that with the pressing global issues of food security and climate change, the demand for those in the agriculture-related fields will increase.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said that much of agriculture is in science, and that the country now needs farmers who are willing to adopt technologies and agricultural scientists and engineers that would enhance or modernize the country's agriculture industry.

He cited the need for training and support for farmers so that they would be more open to technologies that will increase their outputs and income.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala also encouraged students to take up agronomy, saying that income can be reaped from the field and that people actually became successful from farming.

Meanwhile, AGHAM Representative Angelo Palmones stressed the need for marine scientists, entomologists, plant pathologists, and soil and agriculture scientists as such experts are already depleting in the country. "We need these people to strengthen our food production," said Rep. Palmones.

AGHAM is an association of science professionals, science journalists, advocates and supporters that seeks to push science and technology as effective tools for economic development. (DA-Biotech/PIA-Caraga)