Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II

Supporting agricultural development through biotechnology


Eggplant - Philippines

Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR)/Bt Eggplant

Eggplant is one of the most nutritious and culturally important vegetables commonly consumed in South and South East Asia. Unfortunately, the production of marketable eggplant is compromised due to infestation of the insect commonly known as the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis). To control this insect pest, farmers in Asia spray hazardous pesticides as often as every other day.

The introduction of the Cry1Ac gene from the naturally occurring bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis) has the potential to render eggplants resistant to these insects and reduce pesticide use. Use of the Cry1Ac gene in other crops such as maize and cotton has had considerable success in controlling related pests. The Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) has developed an eggplant bioengineered to express Cry1Ac. Mahyco has donated this technology to public sector partners in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines in an arrangement facilitated by ABSPII. Mahyco has developed transgenic eggplant hybrids for commercial release and the ABSPII public sector partners have developed transgenic eggplant in varieties that are preferred by small-scale farmers. ABSPII’s public sector partners are Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), the University of Agricultural Sciences at Dharwad (UASD), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and the University of the Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB). This public-private partnership will make affordable seed available to resource-poor farmers, help reduce the need for excessive pesticide use and dramatically increase eggplant crop yield.

ABSPII’s role is to support the partner institutions through the development, regulatory and commercialization process. ABSPII supports capacity building efforts in partner institutions for the public sector to engage in sustainable product development and validation efforts to meet the food security needs of the region.


Eggplants genetically engineered to express the Cry1Ac gene are being developed to control the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. Cry1Ac is a gene from the naturally occurring bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, and produces an insecticidal protein that protects plants from some caterpillars, including the eggplant fruit and shoot borer.

Expected Benefits

Resource-limited farmers stand to benefit economically from:

Apart from this, Bt. eggplant improves human and animal health, and reduces damage to the environment as a result of less frequent chemical pesticide sprays. The project has also facilitated improved capacity in the areas of research, licensing and communication through hands-on training, partnerships, exchange visits and workshop participation.

Participating Countries

Bangladesh, India, Philippines


  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh
  • Cornell University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), USA
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, India
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India
  • Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), India
  • International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA) - Southeast Asia Center, Philippines
  • Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (MAHYCO), India
  • Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd., India
  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), India
  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS-D), India
  • University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Philippines
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, USA

  • Country Specific Data for Eggplant in Philippines

    Economic Importance: Eggplant production accounts for 28% of the total volume of top vegetables grown in the country. In 2011, its value was the highest among the leading vegetables, amounting to 2.4 billion pesos at constant prices. The area devoted to eggplant production is estimated to be more than 20,000 hectares with small farms ranging from 0.5- 2.0 hectares in size. The average yield of eggplant per hectare in the Philippines is 10 tons, which is about half that of the average yield in Asia and the world.

    Damage by fruit and shoot borer is considered the most serious and devastating in terms of crop loss. As much as 50% of the fruit may be damaged in heavily infected fields. Commercial varieties with complete resistance to fruit and shoot borer do not exist in the Philippines. Farmers resort to chemical spraying to control this pest. Farmers spray as frequently as every other day, particularly when fruit are developing. Chemical application accounts for 24% of the total cost of growing eggplant.

    Current Status: Two seasons of open pollinated variety (OPV) trials have been completed at Pangasinan, Laguna and Camarines Sur (in the island group of Luzon). Five multi-location field trials of are ongoing in 2012 at Pangasinan, Laguna, Camarines Sur, Kabacan, and North Cotabato.

    Partners within the Country

  • International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA) - Southeast Asia Center
  • University of the Philippines, Los Baños