GMO forum set today

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


A FORUM on “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), Implications and Trends” is set today, August 11, at the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) on Roxas Street in Davao City.

Dr. Chito P. Medina, national coordinator of the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag), in an invitation emailed to Sun.Star Davao, said the forum aims to raise awareness on impact and implications of the GMO to health and biodiversity among the students, faculty and consumers.

Medina said the ongoing issue of the genetically modified food like BT eggplant and golden rice that are targeted to be released commercially, greatly endangers the consumers, as safety studies and long-term health impact assessments are lacking.

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According to the Masipag, the golden rice is identified as GMO crop that has been "artificially inserted" with genes coming from bacteria and corns to produce beta carotene, a key component in the formation of Vitamin A.

Reports said the golden rice is undergoing multi-location field trials in different sites in Luzon. It needs to pass several tests before it will be commercialized. However, a lot of people are not convinced about the crop.

Proponents of the golden rice have been saying that this variety is the answer to the problem of Vitamin A deficiency among Filipino children. But organic farming advocates are concerned that this may be just a "Trojan Horse" to attract the public to support the entry of another genetically modified crop here.

"There is an increasing awareness and approval for organic food productions and consumption globally," Medina said.

Medina added that a number of studies and publications have pointed not only to the health benefits of organic food among consumers, but also its significant role in conserving agro biodiversity, and even in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

In the Philippines, thousands of small-scale farmers practicing a chemical-free farming gladly welcomed the passing of Republic Act 10068 or The Organic Agriculture Law. The legislation served to acknowledge the impact of organic agriculture both in the farming sector and among consumers.

"Safe and healthy food is a basic right of every consumer. In a country where chemical-intensive farming has been accepted as the conventional way, consumers are always at the risk of illnesses or conditions associated with chemical inputs," Medina said.

Medina, as one of the guest speakers, is set to discuss the Strengthening Organic Agriculture and Certification Systems in the Philippines, the Scenario Building and What are the other options, while other guests will also share their inputs on the matter. (ICT)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 11, 2014.

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