Gov’t plans to revive industry with production of BT cotton
The country is looking to revive the country’s cotton industry as it targets to produce 66,000 metric tons of biotech (BT) cotton production by 2020, just enough for the country to start exporting this particular commodity within the ASEAN region.
During the second anniversary celebration of Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), it was mentioned that the Department of Agriculture (DA) will strengthen the production of cotton in the country.
PhilFIDA is an attached agency under DA.
“The production of BT cotton can potentially revive the country’s cotton industry,” PhilFIDA officer-in-charge executive director Clarito Barron said in his speech during the event held in Quezon City on Wednesday.
To be able to do this, Barron said the government has formed a five-year program for cotton production in the Philippines.
For 2016, the targeted size of production area for BT cotton stood at 40 hectares and this should grow to 2,600 hectares in 2017. Then this is should surge to 8,000 hectares by 2018 and to 17,000 hectares by 2019.
By 2020, the size of production area for BT cotton should be as huge as 22,000 hectares, with annual production of as much as 66,000 metric tons (MT).
Barron told reporters the country could initially produce 120 MT to 24,000 MT over the next four years but by 2019, the country’s production of BT cotton should at least stand at more than 50,000 MT.
The potential areas for cotton production will be spread out within all regions in the country, with focus on Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Panay, Sarangani, and South Cotabato.
If achieved, PhilFIDA officer-incharge deputy executive director Petronilo Jabay said the country could potentially start exporting BT cotton in other ASEAN countries by 2020.
As of now, BT cotton production is not yet commercialized within the country.
Barron said the DA should have the permit to propagate the commercialization of BT cotton by September or October.
According to him, it is important that the government will finally start the commercialization of this certain commodity because this will increase the profitability of the local cotton farmers.
To support this effort, the DA has allocated a budget for the multilocation field testing for BT cotton.
It was already reported years ago that the commercialization of BT cotton could indeed save the domestic cotton industry but it is only in 2004 when the Biotechnology Program of the DA initiated efforts to introduce and evaluate BT cotton varieties locally.
The Cotton Development Administration (CODA), in previous reports, said that approval of BT cotton could promote cotton growing, expand areas planted to the crop, increase farm productivity, and reduce production costs.