The proliferation of ‘counterfeit’ genetically modified (GM) corn seeds in the Philippines is posing a threat to farmers’ profits and the environment. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), local licensed GM corn areas decreased by 21% to 642,000 hectares in 2017. In contrast, there was an almost 11% expansion in the total area planted to corn, reaching 1.378 million hectares last year.
ISAAA Director Rhodora Aldemita said adoption rate of licensed biotechnology (Bt) corn went down to 46.5% of the total area planted to corn in 2017 against a 65% increase in 2016 due to the “huge problem of counterfeit seeds”. Leading GM seed supplier Monsanto Philippines estimates that fake Bt corn seeds—which have the traits of GM corn but compromised purity—are already accounting for 10% of the market share and decreasing yields from 30-50%.