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CLP cites evidence on safe glyphosate use

Experts main that the safety and effectiveness of glyphosate use in agricultural countries like the Philippines amid claims of its adverse impacts on human health. 

In recent years, glyphosate, a weed killer that works on a wide variety of leafy weeds, has been reclassified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in the 2(A) category.  However, leading health regulators around the world have already concluded that glyphosate-based products can be used safely as directed and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. 

In January 2020, the US EPA published its Interim Registration Review Decision on glyphosate and stated, “EPA has thoroughly evaluated potential human health risk associated with exposure to glyphosate and determined that there are no risks to human health from the current registered uses of glyphosate and that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and leading health authorities in Germany, Australia, Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, supported these findings.

Apart from these studies, CropLife Philippines cited that three World Health Organization (WHO) programs including WHO International Programme on Chemical Safety, WHO Core Assessment Group, and WHO Guidelines for drinking water quality, went on record to say that glyphosate does not present cancer or human health risk.

Other experts from agriculture supported the continued use of glyphosate as a sustainable and viable means to manage weeds in agricultural areas, given the dwindling number of farmers in the country.

In the Philippines, glyphosate has been widely used since the 1980s and accounts for 38 percent of the total herbicide spray area for crops such as corn, banana, pineapple, and vegetables. 

“Farmers in the Philippines have been using glyphosate for almost four decades now and we have no reason to worry about its safety to health as there has been no issue of concern that ever came up,” Rey Cabanao, the president of the Asian Farmers Regional Network (ASFARNET) – Philippines. 

Economic and Environmental Impacts

Research conducted by Graham Brookes et.al, looked into the contributions of glyphosate to agriculture and the potential environmental and economic impacts of banning its use on GM HT crops. 

Based on the study, “There would be an annual loss of global farm income gains of $6.76 billion and lower levels of global soybean, corn and canola production equal to 18.6 million tonnes, 3.1 million tons and 1.44 million tons, respectively.

The study further cited that there would be an annual environmental loss associated with a net increase in the use of herbicides of 8.2 million kg of herbicide active ingredient (C1.7%), and a larger net negative environmental impact, as measured by the environmental impact quotient (EIQ1) indicator of a 12.4 per cent.

The research also found that among the environmental impacts would be the additional carbon emissions arising from increased fuel usage and decreased soil carbon sequestration, which is equal to the equivalent of adding 11.77 million cars to the roads.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are one of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind, which is a major reason why farmers around the world continue to rely on these products not only for effective weed control, but also to minimize tillage farming practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve more land for native habitats, and provide enough food to meet the needs of a growing population worldwide.

Science-based agriculture scores win from US court ruling on glyphosate labeling

Science-based agriculture scored yet another victory with the ruling of a US judge barring the state of California from putting cancer warning labels on glyphosate-based products for being “misleading.” 

According to Judge Willian Schubb of the Eastern District of California, he made the ruling because “the weight of evidence is that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

He further stated in his decision that “Providing misleading or false labels to consumers also undermines California’s interest in accurately informing its citizens of health risks at the expense of plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights."

The case stemmed from a case filed by the National Association of Wheat Growers in the US contesting the requirement for glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup to carry the cancer label sign under State Proposition 65. 

“We see this as a critical decision both for agriculture development and for science-led innovations,” said CropLife Philippines Executive Director Edilberto M. De Luna. “Glyphosate has been used safely and successfully by Filipino farmers for more than 40 years to manage weeds and improve farm productivity.”


Responsible and Practical Ways to Steward Herbicide in 2021 Onwards

By GIL MAGSINO, Ph.D.
 

The Glyphosate Ready Corn was genetically modified to provide tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate. The stated purpose of the modification is to allow farmers to manage weeds more effectively in corn fields during cultivation.

Glyphosate has been the active ingredient in agricultural herbicides that kills the plants by inhibiting the enzymes enolpyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS). The enzyme is a critical step in the shikimic acid pathway for the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids in plants and microorganisms, and its inhibition by glyphosate leads to the lack of growth in plants.

Hence, the introduction of Glyphosate Ready Corn has reduced the number and cost of herbicide application and offers considerable environmental benefits due to its fit with conservation tillage systems.

Glyphosate belongs to Group 9 (Glycine) of herbicide family, a non-selective with post-emergent type of action. This group is categorized to be low-risk in terms of potential for weed resistance. 

However, we must remember that weed resistance has usually developed due to high selection pressure exerted by the repeated use of herbicide with a single target site and specific mode of action.

Glyphosate ready corn means the crop is resistant to herbicide and farmers can use glyphosate without fear of crop phytotoxicity or harming the crop. There is, however, the potential of developing resistance to glyphosate over time due to selection pressure.

Resistance could be growing at a steady and fairly fast pace, hence, we need to be proactive as we might not realize that the situation can blow up in our faces.

Seed developers, glyphosate manufacturers and users of this agricultural biotechnology must contribute their share of responsibly/accountability in the implementation process and continue the fair campaign, science-based regulations and assist in contributing to effective capacity building  to  steward herbicide resistance.

Now, let us look at responsible and practical ways to steward herbicide resistance. These are:

  • In managing herbicide resistance, farmers should start knowing what weeds they are against. Knowing the “enemy”, you can prepare to fight the weeds. Weed species respond differently to herbicides and understanding which weeds are present helps to set the first stage in developing a PLAN to manage the problems.

  • Scout fields before, and soon after herbicide applications. Identify the weeds correctly and manage the weeds that escape or germinate after herbicide application. Highlight areas through mapping out fields and prepare list of follow-up management.

  • Spray the weeds while still young. Young weeds less than 3 inches tall are more susceptible to herbicides than older weeds.

Find ways to detect Herbicide Resistance by asking these questions:

  • Was the herbicide product applied correctly?
  • Were tank mixes compatible?

  • Was the herbicide applied at the right time (crop stage and weed growth during application)?

  • Do the weeds show any symptoms of control?

  • May not be a case of herbicide resistance if the product was not applied according to the label directions and favorable environment.

  • If the weeds come up after the herbicide application, this could indicate not a resistance problem but only timing of application.

  • Look for a pattern of natural weed growth as this can indicate resistance while weeds in a straight line pattern are more likely to indicate missed spray of the herbicide application.

  • Has more than one escape from herbicide application? There might be resistance in that type of weeds that survived, but must know how to differentiate resistance vs. tolerance on weeds.

  • Has the same herbicide or group been used repeatedly for several years of cropping?

    • If yes, there is a possibility that the weeds in the field have developed resistance.

    • Farmers are rotating herbicide brands and don’t practice or know about rotating herbicide groups.

    • Remember, rotating brands with similar mode of action does not prevent the ability of the weeds to develop resistance.

TIPS TO DELAY OR DEAL WITH RESISTANCE

  • Practice HERBICIDE ROTATION that consists of MULTIPLE MODES OF ACTION

  • Two (2) active ingredients acting on the same weed can go through multiple generations before that resistance risk increases.

  • Important to know that some herbicide groups have higher risk of resistance development than others.

  • High risk: 10 or fewer applications

  • Moderate risk: 11 to 20 applications

  • Low risk: more than 20 applications

  • Changes to cultural practices such as rotating crops that require the use of different herbicides as well as different life cycles.

  • Tillage practices that reduce the need for chemical application to control persistent weeds in a particular area.

  • Use sanitation/prevention such as use of clean seeds and cleaning of equipment/tools as needed.

  • Be an EXPERT PATCH OBSERVER. Removal of mature weeds before SEED SET provides more benefits than farmers realize.

  • Apply Proper Spray Management such as using the right nozzle, speed, boom height and spraying in suitable environmental conditions.

  • Manage the herbicide to perform consistently and to their full potential by right timing, right water volume for good coverage, correct dosage and use good quality water.

  • Teach farmers to keep Precise Records

  • Application dates

    • Herbicide used and frequency of application
    • Type of nozzles

    • Weather conditions

    • others

Tulong ng Glyphosate sa mga Magsasaka 
 
“‘Yung mga kapwa ko magsasaka na dating mga laborer, nabuksan nila ang mga lupa nila at nakapagtanim ng mais dahil sa glyphosate.”

Ito ang kwento ni Mario Tumitit, isang magmamais at agricultural technologist sa Bayan ng Nagtipunan, Quirino Province.

Ayon kay Tumitit, noong 2002, ang karaniwang laki ng mga sakahan sa kanilang lugar ay .6 hanggang .7 na ektarya lang kada pamilya ng magsasaka.

Pero nagbago ang lahat sa pagdating ng glyphosate bandang 2007 dahil lumaki ang sukat ng mga sakahan. Ngayon, umaabot na ang mga ito ng hanggang 1.8 na ektarya kada magsasaka.

“Madali na kasi ang pagtatanim kapag gumamit ka ng glyphosate hindi tulad dati na kailangan pang linisin, araruhin, patuyuin para mamatay ang damo tsaka ka lang makakapagtanim,” paliwanag ni Mang Mario.

Ngayon, spray na lang, pwede na magtanim. Iyon ang naibigay ng glyphosate na teknolohiya sa mga magmamais dito sa amin,” aniya.
 

Dagdag pa niya, basta glyphosate-ready ang itatanim na mais, madali na ang proseso at mas matipid kumpara sa dati. Mas mababa na kasi ang gastos sa paglilinis at paghahanda ng sakahan.

Sigurado rin daw ang kalidad ng ani kumpara noon dahil kapag nakapag-spray ng glyphosate, kusang namamatay ang mga damo na kakumpetensiya ng mais sa tubig at nutrisyon.

“Ang mga pesteng damo kasi, kayang makasira ng mula 80 hanggang 90 na porsyento ng mais. Kaya kung wala na ang mga damo, maganda ang ibubunga ng mais hanggang sa paglaki.”

Kaya naman biglang tumaas daw ng tatlo hanggang apat na beses ang kanilang ani at kita.

Kasunod na rin daw nito ang pag-unlad ng kanilang buhay.

Doki celebrates bountiful harvest with co-farmers

A Frontline Worker with a Heart of a Farmer
By Loren Anne Yasay-Dizon

As someone who has a passion in serving his community, Dr. Ramon Blancia maximizes his influence and expertise in his hometown of Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur as a rice farmer, medical practitioner, and public servant.

Now 53, married with five children, “Doki” as he is fondly called, had always dreamed of being a medical doctor. And he was committed to become like his father, who was also a doctor himself and a farmer.

So it wasn’t surprising that it was only a matter of time that he engaged in farming too. It was in 2004, following his father’s passing, when he began working as the administrator of their family-owned farms located in five barangays in Zamboanga del Sur. 

As an administrator of a sizable area of rice farms, he immediately faced various challenges in his newfound job for the family. Having farms in this scale was tedious to monitor, considering the demands of his newfound job.

He was still learning the ropes of farming, but Doki, who had been accustomed to looking at things with a scientific approach, knew the right mix of products to use. This gave him confidence in the way he manages his farm. 

A key factor he considers in his success was finding a partner that guided him throughout the stages of rice production. In May 2016 with the launching of Aldiz’s new combination herbicide product, the company’s sales personnel tapped Doki as one of its cooperators. His farms were selected to hold product demonstrations.

With its success in helping eliminate a wide spectrum of weeds in his farms, it didn’t take long before he agreed to use the whole package of technology of the company. Since then, he was being provided assistance in monitoring the usage and efficacy of performance in terms of yield in his farms.

When asked what he has contributed to the local farming community, Doki pointed out that by participating in farmer meetings, he was able to share his knowledge and experience with his fellow farmers. He also took part in introducing new technologies to advance old ways and means in farming.

Dr. Blancia was the first farmer to use a harvester in his area to set an example since some farmers were initially hesitant in using one. It did not take long before they followed him, seeing how it helped him become more efficient in farming.

Doki with PNP officer monitoring the implementation of the "Balik Probinsiya, Hatid Probinsiya" efforts in Zamboanga del Sur

As a certified farmer, he stayed true to his calling of public service and held a seat in the provincial office as a board member for Zamboanga Del Sur from 2007 to 2016.  He later served as the Provincial Health Officer to promote various health advocacies and programs of the provincial government and in the Outpatient Services Department in the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center in which he remains active.

In early 2020, when the whole world was hit by COVID-19 and lockdowns were implemented in various areas around the country, he actively took part in monitoring the safety protocols and other guidelines set by the IATF.  

As a farmer himself, he found that the limitation on mobility would greatly affect the livelihood of the farmers in his area. He then proposed a resolution to the interagency task force and governing bodies, both on provincial and municipal levels, to hasten the release of passes and make their travel across municipalities as smooth as possible. He understood the needs of the farmers and filled in the gaps to secure them of continued livelihood despite the challenges brought by the pandemic and as we face the “new normal.”

Doki is hopeful that continued support from the government in implementing various programs to equip the farmers with the latest technology and keep them updated with the latest trends and best-case agricultural practices “will result in the betterment of the nation.” 

As he put it, “just as every doctor is entitled to continued education, every farmer should have that privilege too.”

Aldiz Incorporated is one of the leading Filipino companies engaged in the importation and distribution of agricultural products. This includes best in class crop protection, plant nutrition and bio-technology products.

For inquiries, you may contact us through email at info@aldizincorporated.com and telephone no.: (02) 8893-2634 to 35.

Bayer drone technology takes flight.

Drone tech revolutionizes PH rice farming

Artificial intelligence-driven drones have started revolutionizing the Philippines’ rice farming as Bayer Crop Science completed a “drone seeding” demonstration in Paniqui, Tarlac that is significantly eliminating costly and time-consuming labor in rice planting.

A technology demonstration harvested by Bayer in Barangay Sampot in March 2021 has shown the success of using a drone to broadcast (‘sabog tanim’) rice seeds. Sabog tanim or direct seeding is a method of sowing rice seeds.

The drone seeder is being received enthusiastically by Filipino farmers in Central Luzon since it substantially cuts the labor and cost of direct seeding.

The drone seed spreading service fee is being placed at only P3, 000 per hectare for Bayer farmer-customers. Labor cost for transplanting rice traditionally costs P11, 000 to P13, 000 per hectare.

Instead of one whole day to do direct seeding in one hectare, drone seeding for the same area can be completed in only 30 minutes. Based on the conducted trial, the seeding rate was 20 to 25 kilos of hybrid rice seeds per hectare. It was far less than the 40-50 kilos seeding rate in the manual sabog tanim, indicating effective seed distribution.

“We are preparing farmers for a complete package of smart technology. We can now use drones to support agriculture modernization. Other countries in Southeast Asia have started to use drones in farming, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, it’s already used extensively in China,” said Aaron Cano, Bayer New Business Activation Manager during the technology demonstration.

“This is the future of farming. We are opening an opportunity for the youth to get interested in farming,” he noted New Hope Corp. (NHC) Founder/Director Anthony Tan said NHC, which distributes drones in the Philippines, has already been licensed by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) to use drones for spraying application. However, approvals for specific crop protection products that can be applied using drones have yet to be realized. This is where Bayer is working to ensure regulatory compliance with FPA guidelines for priority products and crops.

A sprayer, much as the broadcaster, is an attachment of the drone that enables farmers to conveniently spray pesticides or other granulated materials on their plants.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), particularly Region 3 under Director Crispulo G. Bautista, has already adopted a drone technology program. “We are scheduled to have a technology demonstration in mid-December in Candaba, Pampanga. We are also providing other venues for demo. Those who want to request us to hold demo in their place may just contact us,” DA Region 3 Rice Program Manager Shiela Hipolito said.

For now, Tan said the drone’s seed broadcasting service will initially be carried out in partnership with Bayer’s seeds. “We’ve been successful in testing the technology with rice seeds. We find comfort in this partnership since we have been testing this for two years,” Tan said.

“Any new technology goes through trial and error stage,” Tan added. “That is what the drone technology has hurdled under the partnership between NHC and Bayer.

Experts from Bayer explain the benefits of using drone technology to farmers.

The collaboration successfully proved that hybrid seeds can be utilized efficiently using drones in certain soil types. 

The drone, registered with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), has a weight of 25 kilos and a rice seed loading capacity of 10 kilos. Drone pilots are also registered by CAAP.

Good seeding has also been observed when land preparation has been done properly. For now, the introduction of the drone seeding service will be focused in Central Luzon.

“We want to put farmers at ease with the technology. A lot of farmers in Iloilo have been pressing us on the supply of the drones, but these have to be scheduled,” Tan said.
 
While direct seeding has been known to be less productive than transplanting (producing seedlings first then transferring these to permanent locations), transplanting is laborious, costlier, and takes a longer time to complete.

Within just one day, 20 hectares may be planted with the seeds using drones versus 1 hectare if done manually. The drone distributes rice seeds aerially from an altitude of 2.5 meters at a speed of one meter per second. 

As a single drone would cost around P1 million which are out of reach for most farmers, NHC plans to provide the service at a reasonable fee for farmers within selected communities.
 
Bayer Crop Science is a major agricultural player in the Philippines, with businesses ranging from seeds to crop protection. It has a diverse portfolio in rice, corn, horticulture & plantation crops. Crop protection includes both well-established and up-and-coming brands for insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

CLP concludes webinar on maximum residue levels on banana

CropLife Philippines has conducted a webinar on maximum residue levels (MRLs) for independent banana growers.

Participants in the March 25 online forum were oriented with the concept of pesticide residues and the international standards set by Food and Administration Organization (FAO) through the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP).

The webinar focused on science-based agriculture trends and information on minimum effective application rate, intervals, timing and crop growth and pre-harvest interval (PHI).

UPLB-based National Crop Protection Center’s John Julius Manuben, in citing studies on efficacy, noted that understanding the impact of pesticide residues is important because it affects food safety and human health. He added that it also plays a role in occupational health, the environment, and even the economy.

“To protect food consumers from adverse effects of pesticides, WHO reviews evidence and develops internationally-accepted maximum residue limits,” he said. He added that people who face the greatest health risks from exposure to pesticides are those who come into contact with them at work, in their home or in their gardens.

“Some of the older, cheaper pesticides can remain for years in soil and water. These chemicals have been banned from agricultural use in developed countries, but they are still used in many developing countries. There were also losses from exports that were denied entry due to excesses in MRL,” he cited in is discussion. 

According to CLP Executive Director Edilberto de Luna, CropLife Philippines considers it part of its responsibility to ensure that its partners are constantly informed about the impact of science-based agriculture on production, especially when it involves the consumers.

“We are looking forward to more interactions like this with our partners,” he said. 

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