Through various activities, participants gain first-hand experience of how biotech crops are developed, regulated by the government, and managed at the farm level. Although the institutions and farms visited may vary, three elements form the core of the program every year.
Theory – forum with biotech experts. The program features a series of interactive presentations on different components of agricultural biotechnology. These include seminars and technical briefings on biotech basics, biosafety regulations and specific biotech crops such as insect-protected (Bt) corn and herbicide-tolerant corn.
Research – increasing biotech research appreciation. This component shows how biotech crops are developed before they are cultivated in farms. Visits are made to laboratories, greenhouses and research trial locations at the facilities of major international and national research centers. For example, in the Philippines, participants visit the International Rice Research Institute, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the Philippine Carabao Center, and the University of the Philippines Los Banos – Institute of Plant Breeding.
Crops – featuring interaction with biotech farmers. Participants visit commercial farms planted with biotech and non-biotech crops. They interact with local biotech farmers who have experienced the technology, and learned its impact to their farms, livelihood, family and community. Visiting multiple farms allows participants to see how biotechnology is used along with other conventional farming practices in different soils, geographies and climates.