Dr. Milton Stokes, Monsanto’s Director for Global Health and Nutrition Outreached said GM (genetically modified) crops can help Philippine meet its nutritional requirements during a press briefing at Sulo Riviera Hotel on March 7, 2017.

Monsanto’s Top nutritionist said “Crops like golden rice with beta-carotene biosynthesis genes to combat Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) can help prevent 1-2 million deaths and 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness annually” (annually that is the damage the lack of Vitamin A or Vitamin A deficiency can cause to the country).

Monsanto Philippines is a local unit of Monsanto, a Fortune 500 global power company with a diverse portfolio of advanced biotechnology products produced in 404 facilities in 66 countries

To date, Monsanto Philippines has four facilities spread out across the country, which includes its head office in Alabang, a Refuge-in-a-Bag (RIB) Plant and cold warehouse located in Bulacan, and an R&D station in Mindanao.

The company also has partnerships with the Philippine government through the Department of Agriculture as well as the local scientific and academic communities in the promotion of modern agricultural biotechnology.

Dr. Stokes stressed on the safety of GM crops, he emphasized that GM crops are as safe and as nutritious as conventional crops. :It has been 30 years since GMO crops have ben researched and developed with more than 1000 studies, which all indicate that GMO crops are just as safe as those developed through traditional breeding” said stokes

Since 1996, GM crops are now planted in 70 countries with more than 3.95 billion acres of land used for GM planting.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is on organism that has been transformed by the insertion of one or more transgenes (FAO Glossary of Biotechnology for food and agriculture)

GMO is also defined as an organism whose genomes has been altered by the technique of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.

In the Philippines, debate is ongoing on the safety and impact of GM crops. Dr. Stokes shared that more than 90 government bodies globally review and approve GMOs. Moreover, there are countries such as the Philippines where multiple agencies are involved in GM regulation.

"GM crops are also the most studied crops which explain its record of safety," said Dr. Stokes. "On the average, a GMO crop takes 13 years and USD 130 M of research and development before it gets into the market."

Dr. Stokes is in Manila to engage with dietitians and other professionals on topics pertaining to food, agriculture, and nutrition. Before coming to Monsanto Dr. Stokes had a tenure-track professorship in nutrition and directed a dietetic internship at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

He also owned a private nutrition counseling practice with multiple offices throughout Connecticut and is a former restaurateur. His restaurant, co-owned with his mom, Ann, featured traditional food from the Southern region of the United States.

Dr. Stokes has a master’s degree in Public Health from Hunter College and his clinical training was conducted at Yale-New Haven Hospital affiliated with Yale University School of Medicine. His doctoral degree, from the University of Connecticut, is in Communication and Marketing with a specialization in Health Communication.

About Monsanto-Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. It produces seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops — such as corn, soybeans, sorghum, canola, and cotton — that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. It works to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease.

Through programs and partnerships, it collaborates with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.(PSciJourn MegaManila).