Press Release
October 13, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on stakeholders in the agricultural sector to utilize advanced Science and Technology (S&T) into making Philippine crops more disaster-resilient after typhoons 'Pedring' (international name: Nesat) and 'Quiel' (international name: Nalgae) flooded many farmlands throughout Luzon.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted in a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to Malacanang that 'Pedring' resulted in Php5.6 billion worth of damages to agricultural crops alone.

"Governmen--along with the academe, and the private sector--needs to act in a decisive but coordinated manner to better prepare our farmers and agri-entrepreneurs for extreme weather disturbances. We can no longer afford to be vulnerable in the face of climate change, especially when it poses significant challenges to our food security and rice self-sufficiency," said the former agriculture secretary.

The Aquino administration is aiming to make the Philippines rice self-sufficient by 2013. In line with this, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is implementing an array of projects under its National Rice Program, for which P5.217 billion has been alloted for 2011.

Currently, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P3.964 billion of the allocation, P534.3 million of which will go into purchase of hand tractors, seed cleaners, threshers, flatbed dryers, rice mills and other post-harvest technologies that help reduce wastage.

"It's laudable that our government is investing significantly in making our rice farmers more productive. But on top of looking into post-harvest technologies, we also need to focus on making sure there's rice to harvest in the first place," said Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

A question we need to immediately answer is how do we provide our farmers with timely weather and topographic information so that they can adjust their harvesting periods?" he added.

The veteran lawmaker noted that COMSTE has been pushing for the deployment of remote sensing and aerial photography technologies to be utilized in gathering precise agricultural information. Farmers can use such data to better plan cropping intensities and land use.

"The most advanced S&T has to be rolled out so that our farmers receive all the information and support they need to better prepare themselves in the face of increasingly devastating weather," said Angara.

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