Philippine Farmers Embrace GM Crops

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Farmer Jerry Due cites reduced pesticide use and increased yields as greatest benefits to his family.

The Philippines is one of 11 developing countries and one of the first countries in Asia to adopt GM crops. Corn growers in this country face persistently high levels of Asian corn borers that infest the crops and negatively impact yields.

“We have been using (Bt corn) for two years now. We hardly use pesticides and the yield has improved,” says Jerry Due, who has fought corn borers since he started farming in 1990. “It has been about a 20 to 30 percent increase from the previous yield.”

“Another benefit of biotech corn is that we do not have to burn the residue in our harvest anymore. We just allow the residue to decompose in the field to become fertilizers,” continues Due in a video interview at biotech-gmo.com. “Our former practice was to burn them. With the help of Bt, this will not have the same adverse effects in our environment.”

In 2005, Due was one of more than 50,000 resource-poor Philippine farmers who grew biotech corn on approximately 100,000 hectares – resulting in higher incomes and reduced pesticide applications countrywide. “I want my son to take education seriously. And increased yield will make that possible,” says Due. “By the time he goes to school, he will have enough money to stay in the school.”

While corn is the only biotech crop currently grown in the Philippines, researchers are conducting in-country lab, greenhouse and field studies on a wide variety of crops important to Philippine agriculture including papaya, rice, tomatoes, coconut, mangoes and bananas.

“If there were no Bt corn, I would not plant again after realizing the difference it makes in our harvest,” Due says. “Maybe those people whom oppose biotechnology do not know all the good things it has done for us.”

This exclusive interview with Jerry Due – as well as video interviews with two of his fellow countrymen, Jesus Gavino and Roman Bernal – can be found at Monsanto Company’s Conversations about Plant Biotechnology website: http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo/new.htm

Note to Editors: 1 hectare = 2.47 acres

Contact:

Michael Doane

314-694-8351

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Michael Doane

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