Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Scientists helping Filipino farmers adapt to climate change

ALABANG, Muntinlupa City, 28-29 November—The current practices of Filipino rice farmers and the varieties they are using are continually being upgraded by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to help them adapt to the unpredictable effects of climate change.

This was an observation from Dr. Yoichiro Kato, a rainfed lowland agronomist at IRRI, during his presentation at the recent 10th Annual Scientific Forum and Meeting, organized by the Philippine Association of Career Scientists, Inc. (PACS). The event attracted Kato and other international and national scientists from different disciplines who shared insights from their research activities in improving farmers’ planting practices.

Kato, when discussing other adaptive measures for growing rice under the current Philippine weather and climate conditions, cited Central Thailand's rice farming model, which uses a number of the dynamic farming approaches recommended by IRRI.

He also shared his three-step research philosophy for agricultural science: (1) know your own target; (2) get robust evidence; and (3) understand reasons behind the results. “This is my personal strategy to effectively implement basic researches in rice agronomy,” Kato said.

Dr. Ricardo Orge, from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), presented his study on coping with climate change in the Philippines.  He gave an overview of Palayamanan, a PhilRice initiative on water-saving technology for diversified and integrated system of farming.  Orge’s presentation stimulated a discussion on budget limitations for rice-farming research.    

According to Evelyn Mae Tecson-Mendoza, Scientific Career Council Executive Secretary Academician, research and development (R&D) in the Philippines are lagging behind in the number of R&D personnel per million persons in the population.  This lags far behind other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and needs to be remedied.

Other prominent scientists from leading rice research centers in the country discussed how they are providing far-reaching technological solutions in line with the Forum’s theme, Reinforcing science and technology capacities for sustainable community development,

The Philippine Scientific Career System and the National Academy of Science and Technology collaborated with PACS in sponsoring the forum.

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