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Philippines to follow China in GM rice

The Philippines could be the next Asian country after China to approve genetically modified rice. The director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Dr Robert Zeigler, has predicted that the authorisation could take place in late 2011 or early 2012, reports Philippine news service Business Insight Malaya. Dr Zeigler expects Bangladesh to then follow suit, followed by India in a couple of years. The IRRI-developed pro-vitamin A-enriched GM Golden rice is being tested in the Philippines and in India, Indonesia and Vietnam, he reportedly says. China approved Bt rice towards the end of last year, although commercial production is not expected to commence for another 2-3 years ( Agrow No 581, p 23). A survey conducted on behalf of the country’s Department of Agriculture in 2007 revealed that most farmers and consumers would be willing to grow and buy GM rice ( Agrow No 528, p 17).

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