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Some Philippino farmers oppose GM corn test plots

(Sept 5, 2001 CropChoice news) Farmers in the Philippines want the Department of Agriculture there to halt its plan to allow field testing of transgenic crops at 10 sites in the country. They disagree with the notion that use of the technology will solve food security issues.

Organic farmers are concerned that the widespread use of Bt corn, genetically engineered with a gene for the natural insecticide Bt, will result in pests resistant to it. Organic farmers sometimes turn to Bt as the last resort in the event of insect infestation.

Meanwhile, Monsanto is suing farmers who recently uprooted Bt corn plants in a half-hectare experimental field in Tampakan, South Cotabato because they had reached the flowering stage. The farmers said that they feared the transgenic corn would contaminate their own varieties and harm biodiversity, in general.

The test farm was the second time that Monsanto tried to plant Bt corn in the region. When Monsanto first launched its field testing here last year, the city council passed a resolution prohibiting the experiments. However, the company received a temporary restraining order and then proceeded with the planting.