Philippines Province GM Ban to Stay

PHILIPPINES - Despite opposition from livestock and poultry farmers, the ban of genetically modified (GM) products, including feed ingredients, remains in place in the province of Negros Occidental.
calendar icon 30 April 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

Despite concerns raised by hog raisers over the possible shortage in feeds for livestock and poultry, Negros Occidental Governor Isidro Zayco said they would continue to enforce the ban on GM corn, reports Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Governor Zayco said on 29 April that the provincial government would stand by its resolve to enforce a ban on GM products.

But Rodney Ta-ala, president of the Alliance of Hog Raisers in Negros Occidental, said the ban on GM products would kill the livestock and poultry industry in Negros Occidental.

Mr Ta-ala noted that other provinces did not ban GM products.

Governor Zayco, however, called as highly speculative the claim that the poultry and livestock industries will collapse if the GM ban is not lifted. He maintained that the fears were unfounded because GM-free corn was available to meet the feed requirement of the industry.

He cited the report of Negros Occidental provincial agriculturist, Igmedio Tabianan, that there were available sources of GM-free corn in Bukidnon.

There will be no collapse of the poultry and livestock industry if they just import available non-GM corn, Mr Tabianan said. He added that organic farmers of Bukidnon could provide Negros Occidental 1,000 tons of GM-free corn a day until the end of June.

After June, he said the Bukidnon organic farmers would have 900,000 tons of hybrid corn available.

Businessmen know where to access GM-free corn if they wanted but they insisted on GM corn because of its high fructose content that enabled the faster fattening of livestock and poultry, Tabianan said.

But Mr Ta-ala maintained that Tabianan's claim that there was adequate GM-free corn for feeds available to be brought into Negros Occidental was wrong since they needed 915 tons of corn a day.

He also noted that the GM ban was in conflict with the food security programme of the Negros Occidental provincial government.

While the provincial government promoted livestock raising in Negros Occidental at a fair last month, it is killing the livestock industry because of the ban on GM corn, Mr Ta-ala told Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Governor Zayco recently ordered that about five shipments of allegedly GM corn intended for feeds be shipped out of Negros Occidental. However, he said they would amend the ordinance if those complaining against the ban could submit position papers showing that GM products were not harmful to the health of people and those opposed to GM agree with them.

Mr Tabianan earlier said that there was no conclusive evidence that GM products affect humans but research showed that GM food tested on rats has caused inflation of kidneys and increased blood sugar. The GM ban also provided Negrense farmers an opportunity to produce more corn needed for poultry and livestock in the province, he added.

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