Philippines urged to invest in agriculture-fishery R4DE

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Danessa Rivera – The Philippine Star

October 8, 2023 | 12:00am

BAR director Junel Soriano said the country needs to take “a bold and innovative approach” to R4DE in the agriculture and fisheries sector, which is the nation’s lifeblood.

Michael Varcas / File

MANILA, Philippines — The country needs to invest more in research for development and extension (R4DE) to unlock the potential of the agriculture and fisheries sector, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

BAR director Junel Soriano said the country needs to take “a bold and innovative approach” to R4DE in the agriculture and fisheries sector, which is the nation’s lifeblood.

“It is high time we embrace adaptive strategies and innovative solutions to overcome the challenges faced by our farmers and fisherfolk,” he said.

As the agriculture sector’s productivity and sustainability slowed due to the use of outdated technologies, the BAR official stressed the importance of prioritizing the development of appropriate technologies tailored to specific, unique circumstances.

“By investing in research and development, we can create tools, equipment, and techniques that address the specific needs of our farmers and fisherfolk,” Soriano said.

“We need to focus on sustainable aquaculture systems, precision farming methods, and resilient crop varieties that can withstand changing environmental conditions. This will not only enhance productivity but also minimize the impact on our fragile ecosystems,” he said.

Apart from developing innovative technologies, these should properly reach farmers and fisherfolk to realize its benefits.

“We must ensure effective dissemination, promotion, and transfer of these technologies to reach every farmer and fisherfolk in the country. Our extension system needs to be revitalized and strengthened to facilitate knowledge sharing and technology adoption,” Soriano said.

To bridge the gap between research and practice, there should also be active collaboration among research institutions, extension workers, farmers and fisherfolks through farmer-to-farmer exchanges, demonstration farms, and digital platforms, the BAR official said.

In addition, the country also needs a robust monitoring, evaluation, and documentation system to continuously improve the sector and lead to evidence-based and responsive policies.

“We must measure the impact of our programs, track adoption rates, and assess the socioeconomic outcomes of our initiatives. By collecting and analyzing data, we can identify what works and what doesn’t, enabling us to refine our strategies and ensure the allocation of resources to areas that truly make a difference,” Soriano said.

The Philippines also needs to actively seek international cooperation and partnership to access global expertise, funding opportunities, and best practices, Soriano said.

“Collaboration with international organizations, research institutes, and development agencies will open doors to innovative ideas and technologies that can be adapted to our local context. By learning from others and sharing our experiences, we can build resilient and sustainable agriculture and fisheries industries,” he said.

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