Commercial Bt cotton eyed
Following the approval of the planting distribution of genetically modified crops in the country, the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFida) is pushing for the commercialization of Bt cotton.
The Department of Agriculture initiated efforts to introduce Bt cotton varieties in 2004 but field trials were delayed due to the feasibility of selling Bt cotton seeds in the Philippines and its need for large amounts of pesticide and insecticide because of the bollworm.
BusinessMirror, quoting PhilFida Executive Director Clarito Barron, reported that Bt cotton would have to hurdle an environmental risk assessment, an additional requirement in the new joint department circular for genetically modified crops.
The environment department would head the risk assessment on Bt cotton.
Barron said PhilFida targets the planting of 50 hectares of land with Bt cotton to jump-start propagation this year.
If commercialization is approved, she said planting would start in 2017.
Barron said the target is to plant 20,000 hectares of land with Bt cotton by 2020 which would yield 60,000 metric tons of cotton.