NEGROS Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said on Friday that genetically modified organisms (GMO) products are still banned in the province.
“GMO is banned from Negros. We’re an organic island," Marañon said.
The province also has an existing anti-GMO ordinance.
The governor’s reaction came after Organik na Negros! Producers and Retailers Association (Onopra) headed by its president Ramon Uy Jr. expressed its opposition to the Golden Rice commercialization in 2016.
Uy said the province had been aggressive in promoting organic rice and is now 97.43 percent rice self-sufficient.
Marañon also urged Negrenses to be vigilant against GMO products.
The anti-GMO ordinance was passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in 2007 when a shipment of GMO corn was intercepted at the Bredco Port in Bacolod City.
In a press statement yesterday, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) said “any attempts of (the) pro-GMO group to promote genetically-engineered crop/s will be meet with strong opposition and actions from smallholder farmers and non-government organizations (NGOs)” in Negros Occidental.
The farmers and NGO representatives are currently undergoing training on Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) on Organic Agriculture in Negros in Bacolod.
The OPA said the promotion to allow Golden Rice owned by Syngenta to be produced in the country is strongly opposed by the group of smallholder farmers practicing organic agriculture farming system.
GMO rice is not a sensible technology to respond to food sufficiency and Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) of the Filipinos, it added.
It also pointed out that the testing of Golden Rice to determine its agronomic traits through open field testing in Pili, Camarines Sur was strongly opposed by farmers and consumers.
“This expensive and hazardous technology is not the only answer to VAD considering that there are lots of sources Vitamin A that are safer and cheaper such as camote, carrots, malunggay, tomatoes and more,” OPA added. (TDE)