By Teddy Cambosa

William Dar, the Agriculture Secretary of the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines, has stated that the department is showing their support for upcoming research and development endeavors that are concerning transboundary crop pests and diseases.

Image by ISAAA KC from Pixabay

In a press release, Dar stated that they believe that these current time is the opportune time to reshape the country’s crop pest management program, led by the University of the Philippines Los Baños’ National Crop Protection Center (UPLB-NCPC).

“We consider the NCPC as the country’s transboundary center in crop pests and diseases management, and thus the Department of Agriculture will continue to support it in whatever way we can,” said Secretary Dar in his virtual message during the agency’s 45th founding anniversary on May 17, 2021.”

He also added that the agency will continue training and capacitating researchers, noting that the agency has seen that even the non-important pests are now becoming important due to climate change, and today more virulent pests are affecting the country’s crop industry.

“I know that most of your research outputs have been utilized in a big way, and it would be good for the NCPC leadership to conduct an impact assessment of your top 10 research outputs. This will give the center the opportunity to really say: ‘Yes the NCPC continues to be relevant!’ Hence, it deserves additional financial support to do more development-oriented research today and in the future,” the DA chief said.

He added, “The agriculture sector faced major challenges last year, but it proved to be the most resilient among the country’s economic sectors. This simply means agriculture can be one of the pillars to fuel the country’s economic recovery. We need to enhance higher levels of food sufficiency and security, because of the global distortion that is happening due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We believe that the academic and science sector, like the UPLB and NCPC, need to be continuously relevant in helping transform Philippine agriculture, in general.”

The spread of transboundary plant pests and diseases has increased dramatically in recent years due to globalization, trade, climate change, and reduced resilience in production systems, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University.