Eggplants are susceptible to the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB), a pest that causes around 70-80% yield loss annually.
To address this problem, scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) developed Bt eggplant, a genetically modified (GM) eggplant that contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Inserting the Bt gene into the eggplant protects the plant by making it resistant to EFSB.
Potential farmer-adoptors from major eggplant-producing provinces (Laguna and Pangasinan) express their full support for Bt eggplant and its approval for commercialization. “We’re hoping it will be released soon so that we can benefit from it already,” the farmers voice out their shared sentiment.
Cecilio Quiming, Jr., eggplant farmer from Villasis, Pangasinan said that they are waiting to plant Bt eggplant in their farms. Cecilio, 41 years old, has been planting eggplant and other vegetable crops on his 7,000 sq.m. farm for more than 18 years. “I harvest eggplant twice a week. I get 200kgs per harvest. If Bt talong (eggplant) becomes available, I will harvest more and spray less.” He said that he hopes to increase his harvest once Bt eggplant becomes available to them.