On November 16 -20, 2020, about a hundred participants from Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the US attended the first virtual Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange Program. In its 14th year, CropLife Asia, CropLife Philippines and the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines organized and held the week long event as an online two-hour webinar each day.
Farmers, scientists and the academe, government officers and policy makers and experts on industry shared their knowledge and experiences in the fields of agricultural biotechnology, regulations, communications and commercial growing of biotech crops . Companies and institutions also gave virtual tours of their facilities and showcased how their products are produced and managed while ensuring its safety and quality, and following government regulations.
Below are the recorded videos of the 14th Pan-Asia Farmers Exchange Program.
INTRODUCTION TO BIOTECHNOLOGY
During the 1st day, Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, the Director, of ISAAA Southeast Asia Center and Director of the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology – International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), gave an overview of modern biotechnology.
Dr. Russell Reinke, Theme Leader of the Improving Health Through Safe and Nutritionally Enhanced Rice Program at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), shared the Golden Rice Experience. And Dr. Szabolcs Ruthner, Regulatory Affairs Manager of the International Seed Federation (ISF), presented a quick overview of new plant breeding innovations.
This session was opened by Dr. Sianghee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia and moderated by Ms. Sonny Tababa, Biotechnology Affairs Director of CropLife Asia.
On the 2nd day, Dr. Saturnina C. Halos, President of the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP), discussed biosafety regulations, including environmental risk assessment and food safety assessment.
Dr. Gabriel Romero, Executive Director of the Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) and Ms. Rosemary Richards, President of the Australian Oilseeds Federation, shared the road to commercialization of each of their very own country’s cultivated GM crop. Dr. Romero discussed about Bt Corn in the Philippines, and Ms. Richards talked about GM Canola in Australia.
This session was moderated by Mr. Abraham Manalo, the Executive Secretary of the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP).
BIOTECH COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP
The 3rd day was all about science communication.
Ms. Ma. Aileen Garcia, Manager, Project Coordination and Stakeholder Advocacy of the Healthier Rice Program at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), gave an overview on science communication.
Dr. Xiaoqing Liu, Associate Research Fellow of the Biotechnology Research Institute at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Mr. Anil Ghanwat, President of the Shetkari Sangathan (farmer association) in India; Ms. Annalyn Lopez, Director-Coordinator of the Biotechnology Program at the Philippine Department of Agriculture; and Ms. Ta Thi Kieu Anh from the Biodiversity Conservation Agency at the Vietnam Environment Administration shared their experiences in communicating biotechnology in their respective countries.
This session was moderated by Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, Director, ISAAA Southeast Asia Center; Director, Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
EXPERIENCES IN COMMERCIAL GROWING OF BIOTECH CROPS
On the 4th day, farmers from different countries shared their experiences in commercially growing GM crops.
Ms Belinda ‘Bindi’ Murray, a dryland broadacre farmer from Woodanilling in the Great Southern Western Australia talked about how they grow gm canola.
Mr. Tulus Panduwijaya, the director at Pt. Perkebunan Nusantara XI, a government-owned estate whose main business activity is the production of sugar, and Mr. Alex Suherman, the Biotech and Seeds Director of CropLife Indonesia took us on a virtual tour and learned about Indonesia’s gm sugarcane.
Mr Juanito Rama, a successful Bt corn farmer from Tarlac, Philippines, shared how Bt corn has improved and made their lives better. Moreover, Bt corn farmers from Vietnam, Mr Nguyen Thanh Phong from Nghe An Province, Mr Hoang Van Tuyen from Son La Province, and Mr Hoang Trong Ngai from Vinh Phuc Province also shared their experiences in growing Bt corn. On the other hand, Mr. Amir Hayyat Bhandara, a corn, cotton & wheat farmer in Pakpattan, Pakistan, shared his views and expressed how Pakistan farmers need to have access to this technology, to these biotech crops.
This session was moderated by Ms. Ma Emeru B. Rodriguez, Seeds Committee Vice Chairperson of CropLife Philippines.