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2-Plants: Philippines announce first GE cotton field tests



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TITLE:  RP to test biotech cotton for first time
SOURCE: Manila bulletin, Philippines, by Melody M. Aguiba
        http://www.mb.com.ph/BSNS2005012026831.html
DATE:   20 Jan 2005

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RP to test biotech cotton for first time

The Philippines is testing for the first time this year the genetically
modified (GM) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in a hope to revive a
vanishing cotton industry and hopefully save $86 million in yearly cotton
imports. Alice Ilaga, Department of Agriculture (DA) biotechnology
program director, said in a statement that the Cotton Development
Authority (CODA) signed Wednesday a memorandum of agreement with the
Philippine Rice Research Institute (Philrice) for the Bt cotton testing.
"The agreement between Philrice and CODA marks the start of our local
testing and evaluation of the Chinese transgenic cotton hybrids," she
said. Under the MOA signed by CODA Administrator Eugenio Orpia Jr. and
Philrice Director Leocadio Sebastian, Philrice will provide its
biotechnology facilities in Muņoz, Nueva Ecija. It will also be tested in
CODA's research station in Ilocos Norte and all over Luzon, Visayas, and
Mindanao. The Philippines imports some 60,000 to 75,000 metric tons of
cotton lint yearly which represents the sizable 95 percent of the
country's requirement. The Philippines, with the testing, will be
following the direction of China (planting 3.7 million hectares, 66
percent of total area) and India (500,000 hectares, six percent of total
area) which are the world's largest grower of Bt cotton. "The country
will benefit from homegrown Bt cotton and save an estimated $86 million
in import yearly if Bt cotton proves safe (and bollworm resistant).
Farmers can increase their income, and textile millers will have a local
source for good-quality fiber," said Ilaga.




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