A New GMO Ban — Philippines Bans GMO Eggplant

Growing GE crops in the Philippines hasn’t been easy.  Many farmers became indebted because of the rising cost of GM corn seeds and the increasing cost and quantity of inputs being used.  They also faced the emergence of new pests, soil erosion, corn contamination, plus human and animal health impacts.

Yet, despite these problems, the Philippines is a regional biotechnology leader.  GE corn has been on the rise since 2003 and comprised a fourth of the total corn area in 2014.  The country was poised to be the first Southeast Asian country to commercialize locally developed GE crops, had it not been for a 2012 court decision postponing approval of already-completed Bt eggplant field trials. The case, which was elevated to the Philippine Supreme Court, finally reached a decision there last week.

Philippines Ban GMO Eggplant

Phillipines Supreme Court Confirms GMO Eggplant Ban     Original photo here: http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/12/08/philippines-supreme-court-confirms-gmo-eggplant-ban/

On Tuesday, December 8, the Philippines Supreme Court permanently stopped the field testing for Bt eggplant, upholding the decision of the Court of Appeals which stopped the field trials for the genetically modified eggplant.

The Court of Appeals based their decision to ban GMO eggplant partly on its application of the precautionary principle, which holds that “lack of scientific certainty is no reason for inaction at the risk of potentially serious or irreversible harm to the environment.”

Although GMO opponents frequently reference the precautionary principle (which the FDA essentially follows for drugs), it’s surprising to hear it referenced in a court decision.  And a temporary gmo ban, on the development of other genetically modified organisms, is now in place as well, which will please some farmers, environmental advocates, and agricultural scientists.

“It is high time that the Philippine government looks at new, innovative and science-based ecological farming,” said Virginia Benosa-Llorin, food and ecological agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace, in a statement.

But with so many GE crops already present in the Philippines, what will this mean in the long run?

According to experts, further delays in commercializing Philippine GE research are expected to erode the country’s GE regional leadership status, and in general terms, may dampen the long term competitiveness of Philippine agriculture.

Anti-GMO activists will see this quite differently, perhaps as a turning of the tide…

To read more on how the Philippines banned GMO eggplant, go to:

Author: renezimbelman

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