Written by Radel Llagas
Photos taken by Bryan Arcilla

Some 30 participants from the research divisions and information sections of Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Offices attended the training course on Biotechnology spearheaded by the DA Biotechnology Program Office on August 14-17, 2018 at BP Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna.

The training aims to equip the participants with basic knowledge and some key concepts on Biotechnology and to help propagate the information on the same through their respective regions or units.

Dr. Vivencio R. Mamaril, Director of DA Biotechnology Program, provided an overview of DA Biotech Program. He explained that with all the challenges of food security today such as climate change, environmental degradation, decreasing labor force, and increasing population, people should have an open mind to address these challenges, and one of the solutions is the use biotechnology.

Some of the topics discussed are the Principles, Tools, and Applications of Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering of crops and their regulations, and Emerging Agribiotechnologies such as new breeding innovations and healthier rice project.

In Day 2, the participants visited the College of Agriculture and Food Science โ€“ University of the Philippines Los Banos for a lecture-demonstration on DNA Extraction, Agarose Electrophoresis, E. coli Transformation, Bacterial Culture, and Handling of waste containing bacterial cells, to name a few.

In Day 3, the participants went to International Rice Research Institute the Healthier Rice Screenhouse, Genetic Transformation Laboratory and International Rice Genebank.

In his closing remarks, Fr. Noli Aparce, Chair on IEC Committee of DA Biotech Program, strongly believed that biotechnology is an effective tool, an answer to the ever increasing global problem of hunger, food insecurity, poverty and poor nutrition.

He also noted that biotechnology contributes to the protection of the environment by reducing the use of and dependence on pesticides and toxic chemicals for controlling pests.