Farmers group wary over proposed anti-GMO law
A Cebu City-based farmers group voiced reservations against a proposed ordinance banning the planting of genetically modified crops (GMC) in the city’s mountain barangays.
Emelio Secretaria, president of the Cebu City Farmers Federation, said there is still no published document stating that GMCs are harmful to the people and to farmlands.
“Wala pa masintido kung tinuod ba nga makadaot. Dunay mga pagtuon apan walay klaro nga ang GMCs ba g’yud ang hinungdan (There is no evidence that it is harmful.
There are studies but there’s no clear evidence that GMCs are the cause),” he said.
Secretaria said the US and other First World countries use GMCs.
Councilor Nestor Archival disagreed, saying there are studies showing that GMCs are linked to intensive monoculture systems that wipe out other crops and ecosystems.
Archival, who authored the ordinance, said planting GMCs can damage farmlands and eventually render it unsuitable for planting.
He said Cebu City’s 8,415 hectares of agricultural land that produces corn, coconuts, bananas, cassava, vegetables and other crops will be “threatened by GMCs and seeds that are being introduced in the market.”
“Kahibaw ba ka nga sa sige nimo gamit sa GMC magsige usab ka’g gamit fertilizers? (You know that if you continue to plant GMCs, you will continue to use fertilizers?),” Archival said.
Teresa Ruelas, founder of the Cebu Farmers Market, said they support the proposed anti-GMO ordinance.
“Anyone knows that organic farming is much healthier and a more economically and ecologically sustainable alternative to the farming of GMCs,” she said.
Ruelas said there is a growing demand for GMO-free produce around the world, and there are farmers in Cebu City wishing to use organic planting technology in their small farms.
Secretaria said they are not totally against the ordinance so long as the Cebu City government helps the farmers especially during lean seasons.
“We are open to the idea so long as the city helps us. There’s an orientation on organic planting,” he said.
The proposed ordinance defines GMCs as crops or plants that are produced through genetic engineering or genetically modified organisms.
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