AGRICULTURE Secretary William Dar on Friday, November 29, called on researches in the department to make use of science, education, and learning to ensure the country’s food security.
Dar in addressing international experts, educators, stakeholders and researchers in Baguio City said the agriculture sector like any other element of the human society is climate sensitive, such that its output could be affected by changes in its normal pattern.
“We know these facts already, of course there is hotter or warmer environment, extreme weather condition, solar heat, when rains come floodwaters and rising sea levels drown our standing crops. For every strong typhoon or protracted El Nino we experience, their (fisher folk and farmers) livelihood and general welfare and our food security-are put on the line,” Dar said in the 2nd International conference on food, environment and culture.
The DA chief said, “We must once and for all ensure better communication and collaboration throughout the agricultural research community,” to ensure reformation of the agricultural landscape.
Dar in citing Asian Development Bank said natural disasters that hit the country between 2000 and 2016 caused a staggering US $20 billion equivalent to around P1 trillion in associated socio-economic damage.
The top official said there is a need to renew actions and seek options that can be undertaken to address challenges, adding that the country is the most susceptible to natural disasters.
These actions include strong and sustained support for Research for Development efforts on climate change, climate-smart practices and technologies, intensified push for sustainable food production, and “climate smart” agriculture.
“The overarching goal should be to build the adaptive capacities of communities and boost the resilience of vulnerable sectors and natural ecosystems to climate change. Mitigation opportunities toward a responsive and rights-based sustainable development should also be optimized. And at the policy level, create platforms, learning hubs to bring together farmer groups at the grassroots level to facilitate dialogue on how to deal with climate change issues,” Dar said.
The agriculture department launched a development strategy of “New Thinking of Agriculture” built around eight paradigms namely: modernization of agriculture, industrialization of agriculture, promotion of exports, farm consolidation, infrastructure development, roadmap development, higher budget and investments for agriculture and legislative support ,all seeks to bring the Filipino agri-fishery sector along a path toward a higher rate of growth, employment, sustainability and climate resiliency.
He added that the partnerships are needed with local government units (LGUs) on strategic positioning of food, storage, harvested grains, and provision of needed interventions in affected areas.
La Trinidad Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan said academe and researchers’ data are important in making decisions and passing laws.
“You as a researcher will gave us data, so that from the data we now would come up with better solution to particularly set of problems faced by the town,” said Awingan during the three-day conference.
For climate resilient agriculture, the secretary said the DA-Systemswide Climate Change Office has been implementing the Climate-Risk Vulnerability Assessment Project and related initiatives to evaluate and monitor vulnerability in the proposed adaptation and mitigation initiative in agriculture sites nationwide.
There are 21 established AMIA sites nationwide that showcase integrated support services such as color-coded agriculture guide maps and climate risk assessment.