Press Release
October 18, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara identified the need for a stronger research and development (R&D) in agriculture in order to increase productivity and help create a resilient agricultural base in the face of the recent string of natural calamities that have hit the country.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reported that approximately PHP 5 Billion worth of damage was wrought on the agricultural sector from typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last year. The storms also disrupted the nation's rice supply, forcing then President Arroyo to initiate imports to avert a shortage.

"We need to recognize the need to enhance our agricultural capabilities and make sure that we are better prepared to handle the many natural calamities that continually hit the country," said Angara.

Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) cited a report from the commission stating that in terms of R&D spending, the Philippines accounted for less than 3% of the total expenditures of the regions expenditures during 1981-2000 and that the number of R&D agencies has not grown significantly since 1996.

Angara said that the productivity level of the agricultural sector has been growing by 4% in the last four years, but is not growing at a pace to match the needs of the growing population.

A 2005 study by Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) showed that for rice to meet a growing populations needs, a 3.5% average growth rate in production is needed, which is almost 3 times higher than the growth rate of for rice in the 1990's.

Angara said that COMSTE is currently developing a system that uses satellite imagery to provide real-time data and modeling for local farmers. This project hopes to aid in identifying ideal land conditions that would promote optimal crop growth and avoid calamity prone areas, thus reducing the chances of crop damage.

A Presidential Coordinating Council on Research and Development (PCCRD) report identified the development of food and non-food crop varieties for high yield, quality and nutritional value and at the same time, able to adapt to unfavorable environments and pests and the development of enhanced systems that will minimize adverse environmental effects as key national priorities for 2010-2016.

News Latest News Feed