Monday, June 19, 2006

Corn farmers satisfied with Bt corn

Corn farmers satisfied with Bt corn, but still prefer cheaper Bt corn seeds

The number of farmers planting the controversial Bt corn, a variety genetically improved to resist the Asian corn borer, has been steadily rising since its first commercial release in December 2002 and the upward trend is expected to continue in the ensuing years.

However, seed producers must make the cost of the planting materials low and affordable to sustain the momentum, a nationwide survey conducted by the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP) revealed.

According to the BCP survey, the number of farmers planting Bt corn is expected to increase at least 10 times next planting season. On the other hand, some Bt corn farmers may no longer plant Bt corn because of the high cost of planting materials.

Bt corn seeds are currently sold at P4,400 to P4,900 per 18-kilogram bag, approximately twice the price of hybrid corn seeds that are not induced with the Bacillus thuringiensis, which makes plant resistant to pest - particularly the Asian corn borer.

This prompted the BCP to recommend to make Bt corn more affordable through innovative finance, marketing and credit schemes not only to attract non-adoptors but also to maintain the high percentage of repeat users.

About 11% of those who plan to plant Bt corn in the future may decide otherwise, because of high cost of seeds, according to the survey.

Farmers who tried planting Bt corn were generally satisfied with their use of Bt corn because of the protection from corn borer, increased productivity, and less spraying of insecticide while those who are not complained about the cost of seeds and vulnerability to pest other than the corn borer, diseases and natural calamities.

The survey revealed that farmers who planted Bt corn posted average yield of at least 13 per cent higher than non-Bt corn.

Farmers generally produce 5.1 MT per hectare during dry seasons, and 4.9 MT per hectare during the wet seasons, which are 15.3 percent and 13.3 percent higher, respectively than those of non-adoptors, the survey revealed.

Godfrey P. Ramon, a researcher of the BCP said the guided survey was conducted on July 18-27.

Corn-growing areas that the industry representatives, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) personnel, and independent scientists jointly identified as conforming to the requirements of Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum Circular No. 17 were included in the sampling procedure, wherein Bt corn farmers were the main target respondents.

Some non-adoptors or probable adoptors were also included in the survey, consisting of 926 corn farmers from 9 provinces or 33 municipalities. An estimated 70 percent of the respondents surveyed were from Isabela, Pangasinan, and Sultan Kudarat.

The study, which aims to determine the level of acceptance of Filipino farmers on the proposed 80-20 bag-in-a-bag insect resistance management scheme, was conducted on July 18-27 as a condition for approval in December 2002 for the commercial propagation of Monsanto's corn borer-resistant Bt corn MON810. (Biolife News Service)

www.da.gov.ph

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AGRI-INFO/JUNE 19, 2006


TITLE: CORN FARMERS SATISFIED WITH BT CORN, BUT PREFER CHEAPER BT CORN SEEDS

ALAM BA NINYO NA DUMARAMI NGAYON SA ATING MGA KABABAYAN ANG NAGTITIWALA SA KAKAYANAN NG BIOTECH O BT CORN MULA NANG ITO AY SINIMULANG IPAKILALA SA BANSA NOONG DECEMBER 2002, AT INAASAHANG TATAAS PA ANG DEMAND NG BT CORN SEEDS SA MGA SUSUNOD NA TAON.

NGUNIT, BATAY SA SURVEY NA GINAWA NG BIOTECHNOLOGY COALITION OF THE PHILIPPINES, KAILANGANG BABAAN NG SEED PRODUCERS ANG HALAGA NG BT CORN SEEDS PARA MATIYAK ANG TULUY TULOY NA PAGDAMI NG MGA MAGTATANIM NG GANITONG URI NG MAIS.

AYON PA SA SURVEY, INAASAHAN NA TATAAS NG SAMPUNG BESES ANG BILANG NG MGA MAGSASAKANG MAGTATANIM NG BT CORN SA SUSUNOD NA TANIMAN.

NGUNIT, HINDI NAMAN NAIAALIS ANG PANGAMBA NA POSIBLENG ANG IBANG MAGSASAKA AY MANATILI NA LAMANG SA TRADISYUNAL NA URI NG MAIS DAHIL SA TAAS NG PRESYO NG BT CORN SEEDS.

ANG BT CORN SEEDS AY KASALUKUYANG IBINEBENTA SA HALAGANG P4,400 HANGGANG P4,900 SA BAWAT 18-KILO BAG, HIGIT NA DOBLE ANG TAAS KESA SA HYBRID CORN SEEDS NA PINATIBAY NAMAN NG BACILLUS THURIENGENSIS LABAN SA ASIAN CORN BORER.

NGUNIT, MASAYA NAMAN ANG MGA MAGSASAKA NA NAGTANIM NG BT CORN DAHIL SA TIYAK ANG PROTEKSIYON LABAN SA CORN BORER, BUKOD PA SA MAS MATAAS ANG ANI O PRODUKSIYON AT BIHIRANG GUMAMIT NG INSECTICIDE KESA SA KARANIWANG REKLAMO NG MGA MAGSASAKA NA GUMAGAMIT NG IBANG URI.

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