History. Over the past decade USAID supported the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSP II), a consortium of public and private institutions in Asia and Africa with support from Cornell University. ABSP II focused on safe and effective development and commercialization of bio-engineered crops as a complement to conventional agricultural approaches to help alleviate poverty, reduce hunger and boost food security, economic growth, environmental quality and nutrition in the partner developing nations. Over the project period, the consortium successfully developed fruit and shoot borer resistant (FSBR) eggplant (Bt eggplant) for Bangladesh and the Philippines. In 2013, Bangladesh commercialized Bt eggplant.
In order to realize the full impacts of the progress made in ABSP II, USAID provided a three-year (2015 – 2018) award under FtFBP to facilitate the late-stage development, deregulation, commercialization and dissemination of Bt eggplant in Bangladesh and Philippines.
What is Being Supported by the FtFBP eggplant project? The project areas mandated by USAID, are:
Post-commercial support in Bangladesh primarily focusing on:
- Insect resistance management (IRM) and Environmental Safety studies, in support of Stewardship Best Practices and Environmental Risk Assessment to support the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) work associated with Bt eggplant. These studies will have a primary focus of capacity building within the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and provide needed information for proper stewardship.
- Post commercial communication support for Bt eggplant in Bangladesh.
- Seed commercialization plan developed in cooperation with BARI that addresses quality control and assurance, product support and stewardship to support seed dissemination and use by Bangladesh farmers. These studies will have a primary focus of capacity building within BARI.
Support the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) to develop, submit and shepherd through approval of a Regulatory Dossier that meets US and International standards for the Philippines.
What Specifically Will be Done?
In Bangladesh FtFBP will work with BARI to:
- Support training of farmers to grow Bt eggplant under good stewardship practices to promote the durability of this valuable product.
- Strengthen existing extension systems, farmer-led groups, community organizations and communication practitioners to promote science-based public awareness of genetically engineered crops.
- Build institutional and human capacity to carry out responsible product stewardship, monitor and evaluate the post-release impact of Bt eggplant including adoption rates, impact on production costs and the environment and pesticide use.
In the Philippines, FtFBP will work with UPLB to:
- Prepare for commercial release of UPLB Bt eggplants, with intensified efforts on licensing-out, seed production and delivery and product stewardship including post-release regulatory compliance.
- Conduct public consultation and pro-active outreach and communication activities to secure biosafety approval of Bt eggplant for propagation under the new biosafety regulation and mobilize wide-spread support from various stakeholders.
- Support relevant capacity building for UPLB and partners to shepherd the products to market.