New GMO rules take effect in April
A new set of rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will likely take effect by April, much to the relief of about a million farmers and importers who have been worried about a possible food crisis.
Reuters reported that the Philippines has approved the new rules. The issue is being watched by many countries that see the Philippines as a trailblazer for GMOs.
The Supreme Court stopped in December the issuance of new permits for planting or importing GM crops until new rules are in place.
The Philippines approved the planting of GM corn for animal feed and food in 2002, the first in Asia to do so. GM corn accounts for 70 percent of the country’s corn output.
Merle Palacpac, chief of the plant quarantine service at the Bureau of Plant Industry, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the new rules will improve transparency in the processing of permits to plant, import and commercialize GM products.
However, many importers are worried the new guidelines would lengthen the process of getting permission to ship GM crops.
In the old set-up, feed millers only had to get sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance to ship soybean meal.
Greenpeace, which petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the planting and importation of GM crops, is expected to block the implementation of the new rules.