Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB, the Regional Peasants Alliance in Eastern Visayas) is calling for the immediate cancellation of field trial of BT Talong at Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay, Leyte. We also call for the banning of the plans of commercial distribution and plantation of BT Talong here in the Philippines.
BT Talong, a genetically modified crop is believed to help increase production of food, increase income of farmers by decreasing production costs, has basically no difference in taste and nutrition compared to the native talong and is safe for human consumption based from the study of BT Talong supporters.
But the food problem and economic crisis in the Philippines cannot be solved through the introduction and propagation of BT Talong. Rather, it would aggravate the crisis that the local farmers are facing. First, it would destroy the native species of eggplant and once again the eggplant production will be dominated by the Agrochemical TNCs. Second, the engineered introduction of microorganism in the soil will destroy the natural ecosystem and possibly would increase the pest infestation at farmlands. Third, due to hasty laboratory procedures conducted by the promoter there is still doubt that it would endanger the health of the consumers aside from the possible contamination of the environment. And finally, the issue of food sustainability and economic crisis that the peasantry is facing boil down from the decade-long problem on land (the lack of genuine reform) and government’s neglect on agriculture and the welfare of the Filipino people. This can only be solved through genuine land reform and national industrialization.
BT Talong is not the answer, rather it will complicate the problem.
We are against BT Talong and in any genetically modified organisms in our farmlands and in the Philippines. Moreover, we are calling for the permanent banning of BT Talong and other GMOs in the country. We call for the enhancement and more attention for the native/organic varieties and full support on organic farming in the Philippines.