A book titled SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACTS Bt EGGPLANT Ex-ante Case Studies in the Philippines was launched by SEARCA, ISAAA and ABSP II at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City on February 6, 2014.
SEARCA stands for Southeast Asian Regional Center for graduate Study and Research in Agriculture headed by Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. , ISAAA for International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application headed by Director Dr. Randy A. Haurea and ABSP II for Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II headed by Director Dr. Frank A. Shotkoski .
The book presents the findings of completed ex-ante studies on the market prospect and potential economic, health and environmental impacts of Bt eggplant in the Philippines.
The analyses are complimented by studies on pesticide use, cost and return of conventional eggplant production and supply chains in eggplant marketing. All studies were conducted in major eggplant producing provinces in the country namely: Sta. Maria, Pangasinan; Tanauan, Batangas; and Tiaong, Quezon and used both primary and secondary data and information. Pangasinan and Quezon belong to the top eggplant producing provinces.
Since 2000, eggplant production in the Philippines has been increasing despite with only a relatively slight increase in the area planted and had increased production in 2000-2009 by 2.1% per annum.
Asia produces 87% of the world eggplant (Solanum melongene L.) and amounts for 90% of the world’s production area. The Philippines ranked seventh (7th) among the world’s top eggplant producers. Eggplant is one of the economically important vegetable crops in the country, leading in terms of area planted and volume and value of production.
The crop is affected by pests and diseases including fruit and shoot borer (FSB), fruit fly, and bacterial wilt. FSB in particular can cause a 50% yield loss if left unmanaged or uncontrolled. Pesticides amount for 30% of total production costs, the highest among all inputs.
In 2001, a study was conducted in two eggplant producing provinces. Its results showed that on average Pangasinan farmer-respondents’ potential net benefit if they use Bt eggplant seeds rather than conventional varieties should be higher by almost Php 272,000/ha; Camarines Sur-farmer-respondents’ stand to gain Php 120,000 m tons/ha more, also on average.
In 2003, research started in the development of a biotech eggplant, Bt eggplant with built-in resistance to FSB.
On average, this FSB was estimated to begin at 43 days after transplanting and can cause 84% damage. Most farmers (82%) applied insecticides to control FSB while about 13% manually removed and buried the infected shoots. Most farmers were not aware of biotechnology (72%) or genetically modified crops planted (84%) in the country.
With higher eggplant production due to better Bt eggplant yields, consumers may gain because more eggplants will be available at lower prices.
Using the risk avoidance principle, the study found that the benefits to human health due to Bt technology is valued at Php 2.5 million while the aggregate benefits to farm animals, beneficial insects, and avian species could amount to Php 6.8 million.
These values represent the health cost that would be saved and estimated value for improvement in environmental quality due to adoption of Bt eggplant technology by the farmers.
A 48% reduction in pesticides application per hectare can be translated to a field environmental impact quotient (EIQ) among adopters of about 198 per hectare or a 19.5% lower environmental footprint relative to non-adopters.
Farmers were willing to pay higher per unit price for a pesticide formulation that is safer to humans as well as to the environment.
Eggplant is claimed to have significant health and nutritional value, being a good source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, and believed to be a cure for various ailments including toothache, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, dull vision, high cholesterol, inflammation and swellings, and liver complaints.
Contributors to the book were: Catherine-Aragon Chiang, Agnes R. Chupangco, Panfilo G. de Guzman, Samantha Geraldine G. de los Santos, Dulce G. Elazequi, Cristeta A. Foronda, Sergio R. Francisco, Susan S. Guiya, Jinky Leillani Su, Eldy Z. Martinez, Miriam R. Nguyen, George W. Norton, Cesar B. Quicoy and Macrima G. Umali.
Book editors were: Roberto V. Gerpacio and Alberto P. Aquino.