No access to GM, insect-resistant eggplant costs the Philippines $634 million annually

Credit: Global Farmer Network
Credit: Global Farmer Network

[Philippine eggplant crops suffer] tremendous damage from the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB), its major pest. The Bt eggplant project being conducted by scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) is considered one of the tools to address this problem.

In a study conducted by Dr. Cesar Quicoy, economist and professor from UPLB, it was shown that eggplant farmers are losing PhP33.85 billion (US$634 million) due to the delays in the commercial approval of Bt eggplant.

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Bt eggplant or Bt talong contains a natural protein from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which makes it resistant to EFSB. The Bt protein affects EFSB only and is safe for humans, farm animals, and non-target insects. The commercialization of Bt eggplant will not only increase the yield and profit of eggplant farmers but also improve their health and the environment because of the 48% reduction in chemical pesticides used per hectare and 19.5% lower environmental footprint against non-adopting farmers.

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