OVPRE consults stakeholders on AFTA, Climate Change and Food Security issues

By upao - Posted on 23 October 2013


Farmers, Municipal Agriculture Officers, BSU, DTI, DA and CHED specialists and other stakeholders during the consultation regarding the Asian Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), climate change and food security on October 18 at the NPRCRTC organized by the BSU RDE Sector. (Inset) BSU VP for Research and Extension, Dr. Luciana M. Villanueva welcomes the participants to the activity.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Extension held a consultation with community stakeholders to address issues on the Asian Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), climate change and food security on October 18 at the NPRCRTC.

The consultation was in line with BSU President, Dr. Ben D. Ladilad’s advocacy on strengthening bonds with the community.

“Being an educational institution, our prime considerations are to embrace excellence in our functions. It is not an option but an obligation. We have to understand that economic development and quality products in education are attained through R&D.”

This is according to Dr. Ladilad as quoted by HERRC Director, Dr. Belinda A. Tad-awan who presented BSU’s RDE programs.

Throughout the course of the forum, the stakeholders and concerned agencies were asked to voice out their queries and suggestions.

One concern raised is the strawberry planting materials produced by BSU. The stakeholder suggested that if it is possible the strawberry be planted in pots not in plots for higher rate of recovery when transplanted. The issue of water canals coming from households used in watering strawberries in the swamp area was mentioned by another stakeholder who suggested that this should be addressed to avoid compromising the health of tourists especially when they eat the fruit upon picking.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the other hand, commented on the packaging of strawberries. It’s observed that strawberries are usually packed in used juice cartoons. The DTI suggested that this be improved through research and programs in preparation for the AFTA.

Other concerns mulled upon include the transition of farmers from conventional to organic farming, diseases of plants and the law of supply and demand.

To address these issues the stakeholders recommended the mass production of the Igorota potato variety planting materials so that more farmers could avail of it, research on prolonging the shelf-life of carrot juice, and introduce organic agriculture and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to the youth.

The participants suggested price control for strawberries, development of queen bee producers, and the conduct of value chain analysis per commodity to pinpoint SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). It was also mentioned that the Department of Agrarian Reform program aims to turn farmers from producers to entrepreneurs and increase their income.

They also recommended policies that focus on vegetable, rootcrops and cutflowers. This is in terms of providing laboratory/mobile clinic for soil analysis and ensuring the supply of quality products to the trading post. This is through the delivery of pre-cleaned vegetables, monitoring of toxic chemicals used in re-bottling and labeling of products. They also pushed for policies on the preservation or gene bank of indigenous crops and products

Towards the end of the forum, Dr. Julius Caesar Sicat, director of Department of Science and Technology pointed out that the name of the game this day is ‘collaboration’, in different SUCs to utilize human and financial resources.

Attendees of the said activity were the Municipal Agriculture Office of the 13 municipalities, Office of the Provincial Agriculture, different cooperatives in coffee, cut flowers, beekeeping and organic vegetables.//Jen L. Sabado-Tabangcura and Mafie Wance