Press Release
May 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the government can lessen the losses of the agricultural sector by improving post-harvest facilities, utilizing high tech decision support systems and other technology based improvements.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), said the commission has been focusing on agriculture, with projects that are aimed at avoiding a food crisis by stabilizing food security.

"Competitive agriculture means efficiently growing high value crops, using remote sensing to anticipate heavy rains or drought, understanding the effects of climate change and pollution on productivity, and having an integrated view of the logistics of produce delivery to the market," said Angara

The former Department of Agriculture (DA) head also said that COMSTE is currently developing an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system that uses remote sensing and satellite imagery to provide real-time data and modeling for local farmers as one of its flagship projects for 2011.

Angara noted the significant benefits of utilizing ICT in building resilience and adaptability into the agricultural sector.

Angara said that the government should take the lead in ensuring that the growth of the agricultural sector remains constant and be able to withstand the many typhoons and other natural calamities that affect the nation.

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.

Angara suggested some food security measures that the Philippines can adopt. In the short-term, he said the government must install post-harvest facilities to curb wastage which can readily cover supply shortfalls, as well as rehabilitate 800,000 hectares of irrigation canals in disrepair.

Angara reiterated that long-term solutions entail investing in agricultural infrastructure and R&D. He said that COMSTE is looking into Aquaculture and fishing industries that could possibly provide a high protein diet for Filipinos and at the same time enlarge an export market that can create more jobs. He added that there must be a serious push into agricultural R&D that would develop higher yields and create more efficient farming practices.

Angara said that the food crisis is a global priority, noting that, "a group of twenty highest growing economies have made food security a number one priority," noting that this is a sign that the Philippines should not grow complacent and to take swift action to resolve these agricultural issues.

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