THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said biotechnology breakthroughs in agriculture are vital for the country to attain food security.

The DA Biotechnology Program Office (BPO) showcased various biotechnology studies, products and applications during the 18th National Biotechnology Week celebration in Pasay City.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, who graced the opening ceremonies, stressed that capitalizing on biotechnology will improve food production in the country.

"Effectively harnessing biotechnology will increase our agricultural productivity, allow us to achieve food security, and modernize our industry and services sectors," Pascual said.

He cited the biotechnology's breakthrough products and technologies that have multifaceted and cross-cutting benefits including enhancing crop varieties, improving livestock production, producing biofertilizers and biofuels, and allowing the creation or strengthening of links in the global value chains, among others.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

"Biotechnology can help solve the country's food security issues affected by increased population and climate crisis-affected agriculture," Pascual added.

He further said that biotech companies and businesses can rely with the government in creating an enabling environment for biotechnology- and innovation-driven activities, especially those related to food security, and research and development, to thrive and become globally competitive.

"We at DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) regard modern biotechnology as a vital tool to achieve the primary agenda of this new administration — economic recovery and transformation," Pascual said.

He said through Republic Act 11534, or the "Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act," biotech firms may avail of tax incentives and other benefits.

For his part, DA-BPO Director Claro Mingala said the Agriculture department supports various projects that will make the agriculture and fisheries sector more competitive and ensure food security.

Mingala added that the DA-BPO encourages, and funds studies and projects that generate improved agri-fishery products and processes, among others.

"This year's theme aims to foreground wealth generating opportunities in biotechnology with its vast applications in agriculture and fisheries, human health, industry and environment," Mingala said.

Last year, the DA inaugurated its Crop Biotechnology Center located at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, wherein high-yielding, early maturing, resilient, nutritious and cost-efficient crop varieties will be developed.

It also launched the "Golden Rice," which is vitamin A-enriched and a product of biotechnology, for commercial propagation, making the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to approve the planting of genetically modified rice.

The DA offices, including the PhilRice, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Philippine Carabao Center and the Bureau of Agricultural Research, also showcased their techo-products during National Biotechnology Week.