Tag Archives: Sugarcane


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.


Day 1

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.


Day 2

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).


Day 3

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).


Day 4

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.


The Comissão Técnica Nacional de Biossegurança (CTNBio – National Biosafety Technical Commission) has approved the commercial use of the first genetically-modified sugarcane (Bt Sugarcane) developed by the Brazilian sugarcane breeding and technology company Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (CTC). The Bt Sugarcane variety was submitted to CTNBio, which considered the safety of the biotechnology-derived variety for the environment and human and animal health. This is the first genetically-modified sugarcane approved for marketing in the world.

The new variety, CTC 20 BT, is resistant to crop damage caused by the main sugarcane pest in Brazil, the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis). According to a survey carried out by agricultural experts, damage caused by the sugarcane borer results in approximately R$ 5 billion per year, due to losses in sugarcane yield and quality, lower grower insecticide use and costs, and impacts on processors of sugar and ethanol. The helpful Bt gene (Bacillus thuringiensis), found in CTC 20 BT, has been used widely in both Brazilian and global agriculture for over 20 years in biotechnology-derived crops like soybean, maize, cotton, among others.

“The Bt Sugarcane approval by CTNBio is a great achievement by CTC and the national sugar-ethanol sector”, says Gustavo Leite, CTC CEO. “In the next years, we plan to expand the portfolio of varieties resistant to the borer, adapted to each of the producing regions of Brazil. Further, CTC plans to develop other varieties that are resistant to other insect pests and also tolerant to herbicides”, says Mr Leite. He adds that, “in addition to the economic gains from CTC 20 BT, producers can both simplify their logistics and improve their operation’s environmental management.”

The extensive scientific dossier, which evaluated the genetically-modified sugarcane (GM), was submitted to CTNBio at the end of 2015 for the assessment of health and environmental safety using internationally-accepted standards. Processing studies proved that the sugar and ethanol obtained from the new variety are identical to those products derived from conventional sugarcane. Studies additionally showed that both the Bt gene and protein found in CTC 20 BT sugarcane are completely eliminated from sugarcane derivatives during the manufacturing process. Further, environmental studies did not find any negative effects on soil composition, sugarcane biodegradability, or insect populations, with the exception of the target pests (mainly the borer).

Following final approval and registration, CTC will work closely with producers, starting with CTC 20 BT seedling distribution and followed by closely-monitored field planting. Mr Gustavo Leite explains that “the seedling propagation process will proceed like any conventional new variety introduction, with a planted area growth rate that increases gradually, as new plants are replanted to expand cultivated area and not used in sugar production. This process is aligned with the schedule for obtaining international approvals for the sugar produced from the GM sugarcane”, Gustavo Leite says.

This article was taken from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association . See the original article here