Experts push research-based legislations to boost food security

13 February 2019 Philippines

LOS BAŇOS, Laguna -- Scientists and experts have proposed to government policymakers the crafting of research-based legislations that will address food security issues.

The panel of savants from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Japan’s Nagoya University (NU) and University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) and the academe, pitched the call on Monday at a forum “Catalyzing Partnerships in Research Excellence and Internationalization of Education towards Food Security in the Asian and African Regions” at IRRI Havener auditorium here.

The expert resource panel pointed out that policymakers could turn to the universities and research institutions as platforms for research collaboration and education, as agriculture faces many challenges such as pests and diseases, climate change, and decreasing farmlands due to urbanization.

Prof. Fumio Isoda, director of the Asian Satellite Campuses Institute of Nagoya University Isoda, said research from the laboratories could reach the farms, especially on technology transfer through the government support on peer research and collaboration to make this research outputs more applicable to farmers.

Isoda also shared the Nagoya University’s Asian Satellite Campuses Institute which has its hub at UPLB that is currently working closely with partner institutions to further education, research collaboration, and human resource development.

Dr. Fernando Sanchez Jr., Chancellor of UP in Los Baños (UPLB), said Republic Act 9500 strengthened the UP as a national university mandated to be a graduate research and a public service university.

“Public service is clamped in any UP system, tasked to download the results of all its projects especially on research funded by the national government. But, somewhere down the line, I believe we have the challenging situation where farmers just don’t adopt the research done by UPLB scientists,” he said.

Sanchez said issues on food security and production in the food value chain could be addressed through capacity-building and knowledge generation.

“In the Philippines, we have all the laws that have been institutionalized but somewhere down the line, we are not following. We have to educate our politicians more because we have a lot of resources and still, we have a problem with food security,” he said.

He offered that scientists have the knowledge they could share with policymakers whom he observed, are not that well-informed on how things should be addressed in relation to food security and related problems.

Meanwhile, Dr. Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI’s Regional Representative to Africa, saw the need to intensify research collaborations and education especially in knowledge-sharing and technology expertise in developing countries to accelerate food and agriculture security and eradicate poverty.

“Increasing population growth, decreasing resources, calls for better nutrition and pressing threats of climate change continuously call for the agriculture sector to accelerate production,” he said.