The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has commissioned the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) for a 10-year plan with an aim to catapult the Philippines to be a major agricultural producer, probably a farm produce exporter.
This endeavor apparently aligns with the pronouncements of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. about the Philippines’ pursuing food security aims, even agriculture modernization, having himself taken on the task as secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio told a press orientation that the “National Agriculture and Fisheries Organization and Industrialization Plan” has an indicated implementation schedule for 2021 to 2030.
The press orientation was in conjunction with the launch of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Young Generation (SHARING) Cafe.
“We have already submitted our recommendations to the Department of Agriculture (DA),” said Gregorio.
The industrialization plan has a nine-point track to carry out:
1. Consolidated production and post-harvest facilities (commodity systems-oriented)
2. Construction of critical infrastructure spatially integrated within agri-fisheries industrial business corridors (AFIBCs)
3. Modernized food terminal facilities and similar facilities linked to transport nodes in urban and peri-urban areas.
4. Smart irrigation and water impoundment or retention systems serving two or more commodities
5. Other large-scale infrastructure (waste management facilities, fish ports, ICT (Information Communication Technology) including high-speed connectivity
6. Scaled up mechanization and adoption of other commercial scale-oriented technologies
7. Large-scale production and distribution of biologically safe technologies including biopackaging
8. State-of-the-art R&D (research and development) facilities linked to PAFES (province-led agriculture and fisheries extension systems) networks
9. Development of agri-fishery enterprises and business incubation initiatives linked to large investors.
Gregorio said the 10-year industrialization plan requires a budget of P5.03 trillion.
“The budget should come from the public sector, P2.5 trillion, while the other P2.5 trillion will come from the private sector,” he said.
SEARCA itself has launched its own programs inspiring investments in the knowledge economy which taps on the economy’s intellectual resources in order to generate wealth.
For one, the SHARING Cafe provides for a creative learning experience that can lead the young generation to contribute to farm industrialization.
“The SHARING Café is an interactive component of the SHARING innovation spaces, which aims to provide a creative learning experience geared towards Agriculture 4.0 in Southeast Asia,” said SEARCA.
“The SHARING Café will be an innovative venue for ‘play-to-learn’ activities for guests and fun learning modules for K-12 students in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.”