Secretary Manny Piñol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) together with more than 50 top-notch global speakers, the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN), ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) Philippines and Go Negosyo, conducted the highly anticipated and biggest ASEAN Agriculture Summit on October 1, 2018, at SMX Convention Center Manila, Pasay City.
Themed “Champions and Emerging Icons of Inclusive Business, Technology, and Innovation in Agriculture,” the event seeks to highlight agriculture as a game changer by gathering agriculture stakeholders and present developments in agriculture enterprises with inclusive business bearing the 3Ms initiatives (Mentorship, Money and Market) model to share experiences.
In his keynote speech, Piñol discussed the importance of Research and Development (R&D) in agriculture.
“We have a local variety of banana called “Lakatan” which is very sweet and tasty compared to other varieties of banana and the famous Guimaras mango known for its distinct sweetness. The only challenge with these varieties is that they have thin peel that cannot sustain the stress of long-haul shipping. However, during my trip in the United States, I was able to talk to one of their scientists and confirmed that the thin peel can be modified to enable the produce able to resist the stress during transport.” he explained.
In addition, the agri chief also said that the agriculture in the Philippines is lacking support in research and development, which is why DA will prioritize and focus on R&D next year.
One of the topics discussed during the event is producing food using less resources and reducing wastage. According to ASEAN-BAC Philippines Chair George Barcelon, 30-40% of production on vegetables goes on spoilage due to inefficient transport methods and other factors such as traffic and improper handling of the produce.
Secretary Piñol also shared that while our farming areas are finite, the country’s population is constantly growing, which entails an increase in our food requirement.
Currently, a study on the food consumption quantification is being undertaken in order to cater the food requirement of the country in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A food security plan is also being crafted in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGU’s) in order to develop a roadmap to ensure the availability of food for the Filipino people.