Ex-lawmaker warns of higher poultry, pork prices
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The recent ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would result in higher poultry and pork prices, a former congressman warned on Friday.

“The prices of eggs, chicken and pork will surely go up because the cost of feeds will soar to prohibited levels if farmers will not be allowed to plant genetically modified corn,” Angelo Palmones of party-list group Agham told the Usaping Balita forum at the Serye restaurant in Quezon City.

He said there are no “conventional” corn seeds in the market today and what are available are hybrid seeds, which are considered GMOs and are therefore banned under the SC ruling.

“So farmers will have nothing to plant. Only those in the mountains, where there are probably no hybrid seeds, will be able to grow corn using seeds harvested from the wild,” he said.

He said the SC case involved genetically engineered eggplants but the ruling was against GMOs in general, including corn seeds.

Roger Navarro of the Philippine Maize Federation agreed with Palmones that poultry and pork prices would soon go up.

He said corn makes up 50 percent of the ingredients for making animal feeds.

“Most of the corn grown locally is genetically modified. All imported corn and other feed ingredients like soya meal are GMOs and therefore banned. So where will you get your ingredients? The supply shortage will bring prices to astronomical levels,” he said.

With prohibitive prices, he said the P700-billion poultry and hog industry could collapse.

He added that when a shortage occurs, the government would be forced to allow importations.

“But the pork and chicken that will be imported have been produced with feeds made from GMOs. That will be the irony of it,” Navarro stressed.

Palmones urged the government to appeal the SC ruling, if this course of action is still available.

In its ruling last month, the SC stopped the Department of Agriculture from testing genetically modified eggplants.

It also stopped the government from “testing, propagating and importing” GMOs.

“Any application for contained use, field testing, propagation and commercialization, and importation of genetically modified organisms is temporarily enjoined until a new administrative order is promulgated in accordance with the law,” the SC said.

The court said after a lengthy review of scientific literature, it has concluded that, “in sum, current scientific research indicates that the biotech industry has not sufficiently addressed the uncertainties over the safety of GMO foods and crops.”

ACIRC AGHAM ANGELO PALMONES CORN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE GENETICALLY PALMONES QUEZON CITY ROGER NAVARRO OF THE PHILIPPINE MAIZE FEDERATION SUPREME COURT USAPING BALITA
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