SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC) releases The Bt Eggplant Story, a new video series that documents the development of Bt eggplant in the Philippines and highlights the clamour of farmers for the release of the genetically modified (GM) crop.
Eggplant farming is a major source of farmer income but the current situation puts farmers, consumers, and the environment at risk. Eggplants are susceptible to the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB),causing around73% yield loss annually.
To address this problem,scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) are currently developing a GM eggplant that contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. Inserting the Bt gene into the eggplant protects the plant by making it resistant from EFSB.
Potential farmer-adoptors from eggplant-producing provinces in the country voiced out their full support for Bt eggplant and its approval for commercialisation. Proponents of the Bt Eggplant Project from UPLB-IPB also discussed the development of the crop along with its health and environmental benefits.
Experts from the academe and the government likewise spoke about the country’s rigorous biosafety regulatory process which ensures the safety of GM products before being released in the market.
The Bt Eggplant Story has six videos and was produced in partnership with Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement, Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office, and Greenbug Media Productions.