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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Philippine Government University Industry Research Roundtable Meeting for Agribusiness

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Farming is a back-breaking job that is not appreciated by many. But farmers are there to feed the country.
I was not surprised to know that the average age of farmers in the country is 57 years old. That, very soon, we may lose our farmers who primarily plant the crops that provides our basic and staple food like rice, root crops, vegetables and fruits.

This is a reality that we may have to face soon if we will not be able to attract or encourage the youth to continue farming as their work or business. The only reasonable

Attending the Philippine Government University Industry Research Roundtable (PGUIRR) Meeting for Agribusiness organized by the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development  (STRIDE) of the United States Agency International Development (USAID) opened our eyes for the potential of Agribusiness as one of the key solutions for the growth of the Philippines.

The USAID STRIDE invites Philippine academic institutions in Batangas, Bohol/Tagbilaran, Cagayan De Oro, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa/Palawan and Zamboanga, to submit applications for research in agribusiness, fisheries, and food manufacturing which has a direct link to inclusive economic growth.

The meeting was held on January 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza galleria in Quezon City, and was led by Dr. David Hall, COP, USAID STRIDE who also conducted the event introduction and opening remarks.

There is too much government involvement in farming. Too much legislation for what should be a private enterprise. Government doesn't do much to help farmers except charge them 'irrigation fees' aside from the numerous hurdles they already have to face. Giving them their own land without much more support just keeps them in the same state they ever were: slaves in a fiefdom. 

Agriculture is simply too marred by CORRUPTION to be attractive. I used to be enthusiastically interested in investing in farming, until we did project studies on how it works in our country and the laws around it.

Farmers are discouraged from using GMOs and have to do things as 'organic' as possible. Translation: slow, disease-prone yields. Support the SCIENCES first behind farming, weather, technological research, engineering and machinery and apply the researches to farming, then maybe many would consider agribusiness 'sexy'.

Mr. Brian Levey, Director, Office of Education, USAID Philippines, gave the welcome remarks. Dr. Rey Ebora, Executive Director of DOST-PCAARRD,  enumerated the government capabilities and services available to the agribusiness industry. Dr. William Dar, President of the Inanglupa Movement shared the existing university links with the agribusiness industry.

Three USAID grantees, namely Dr. Ma. Carmen Lagman of DLSU, Dr. Agapita Salces of UPLBFI, and Dr. Raffy Espiritu of DMMMSU, shared backgrounders about their projects. We were able to get a video message from them and we will share that soon at our YouTube and Dailymotion video channels.

Ms. Helen Vallejos, Social Programs Director of AGREA Philippines,  discussed about Agribusiness as extension of technology and innovation.

Ms. Penny Bamber, Senior Research Associate of the Duke University  discussed about the Global Value Chain Perspective.

The five-year, USD 32 million STRIDE is a USAID Philippines project under the Partnership for Growth (PFG), a White House signature initiative through which the US and Philippine governments work together to improve economic growth and development in the Philippines.

STRIDE will spur inclusive growth by boosting Science and Technology research by working closely with Philippine academic institutions and industries to transform their capacity to produce research, graduates, and innovation partnerships to accelerate development in the country.

Learning about ‪AgriBusiness‬ that is anchored on Science, Technology and Innovation, is a matter of high importance if we want to make agriculture an attractive option for our future. By transforming farmers to become entrepreneurs, embracing technology and innovation, and collaborating with other like-minded individuals, we might be able to save an impending disaster.

So if you will read the statement below from a netizen, would you still think Agribusiness has room for sexiness?
"The scent of ecology... putting biosynthesis back and balanced so nature can thrive back... that is sexy! The scent of rich soil, the heady smell of decaying weeds and leaves, that turns to compost.. that's sexy! The organically grown pesticides and fertilizer.. yes, as they ferment in vats... smell is sexy! Farmers and millenials in an inclusive community - based collaborative efforts... that is real SEXY! Men... not machines will bring back nature! Earth... not damaged earth... that is REAL SEXY!"

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