The Supreme Court’s ruling banning field trials and importation of genetically modified crops will affect the livestock, poultry and aquaculture industries and increase food prices next year, a group of corn farmers said Friday.
“The reality is a lot of people will be affected by that decision. Aside from Bt eggplant, they also banned the importation of genetically modified corn and importation of raw materials like soybean,” Philippine Maize Federation Inc. president Roger Navarro said in an interview.
The Supreme Court earlier ordered a ban on the field trials of genetically modified organisms, including Bt eggplant, and imposed a temporary ban on approving applications for the contained use, import, commercialization and propagation of GM crops.
Navarro said GM crops such as corn and soybean were now being used as main raw materials for animal feeds in the Philippines. “We are importing as much as 3 million metric tons of soybean which will be used in making animal feeds. What will we use as an alternative?” Navarro asked.
Navarro said as a result, food prices “will definitely go up and that will be felt starting next year because there would be no supply for animal feeds.”
“If there is no supply, naturally prices will go up. The SC decision will not only affect those in the livestock, poultry and fisheries sectors, but the consuming public as well,” he said.
“They are saying that the decision gives people freedom what to eat and freedom of what agriculture to practice but where is the freedom in that? People should have a choice because this is technology,” Navarro said.
The Supreme Court nullified Administrative Order No. 8 issued by the Agriculture Department in 2002, because it lacked minimum safety requirements under Executive Order 514, which established the National Biosafety Framework.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the government formed a technical working group, consisting of four departments, to review the GMO policy before the end of the year.
AO No. 8 set the rules and regulations for the importation and release into the environment of plants and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology.
“The Court ordered that there should be a new administrative order that will coincide with EO No. 154. DA’s administrative order was first issued before EO 154. We already formed a TWG that will review all issues,” Alcala said.
The TWG is composed of members from the Science, Environment, Agriculture and Health Departments.
“ Hopefully before the end of the year we will finish all proposals and reviews and that will be integrated in the new order. By the second week of January, we will have consultations with all stakeholders because there are allegations that the AO 8 was mad without consultations,” Alcala said.
Alcala said a joint administrative order from the four agencies would be released, after the review.