‘Technology important for 4th agricultural revolution’

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“The reality of digitalizing agriculture is won or lost at the farmer level, where applicability and sustainability have to be tested.”

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio,
director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research
in Agriculture (Searca), said this before more than 350 scientists, researchers
and educators at the opening of the 25th Federation of Crop Science Societies
of the Philippines (FCSSP) and the first Federation of Plant Science
Associations of the Philippines (FPSAP) Scientific Conference in Davao City
last week.

FPSAP is composed of the
Crop Science Society of the Philippines, the Philippine Seed Industry
Association Inc., PhilFruits Association Inc. and the Philippine Association of
Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology.

With the theme, “Converging
Sustainability and Precision to Create Digital Plant Science Innovations,” the
conference is convened at the Apo View Hotel and until September 21.

“At Searca, we are working
toward elevating the quality of life of farmers by improving their access to
new, sustainable, resilient production technologies and systems, and help them
integrate with modern postharvest and logistics systems,” Gregorio said.

He explained the importance
of using technology to achieve Agriculture 4.0, but pointed out that there is
resistance to adapt to change by adopting modern technologies because of
perceived risks associated with them.

“We have to embrace these
changes to actually change the lives of farmers. Let’s give these technologies
and changes a chance so that we can have a better chance of changing the
current state of our farmers,” Gregorio said.

The theme of the conference
highlights this need.

“Advances in plant science
through the form of biotechnology or agro-engineering technology can create
various impacts in our society and environment, and thus, should incorporate
sustainable designs for future generations,” FPSAP President Ryan Rodrigo P.
Tayobong said.

“Plant science and
agriculture must be able to cope with how fast new knowledge is generated and
technologies change,” Gregorio affirmed.

Speaking from more than 30
years of experience as crop scientist and research manager in international and
private institutions, Gregorio urged the conference participants: “We must be
innovative to change for a purpose.”

In the next five years, he
said Searca will focus its efforts to facilitate interconnectedness among the
academe, industry and government in order to contribute to the sustainable
development goals, particularly on quality education; industry, innovation, and
infrastructure; and partnerships for the SDGs, among others.

Gregorio challenged the
participants to begin innovative approaches in transforming the agricultural

 “We have to make agriculture attractive and
this begins with changing the mindset of farmers from being producers to
agripreneurs and in having a holistic approach to the agricultural value
chain,” he said.

The conference is jointly
organized by FPSAP with the University of Southeastern Philippines, and
Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research
Development Consortium.

It is cosponsored by Searca, Philippine
Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and
Development; Philippine Rice Research Institute; Corteva Agriscience; Monsanto
Philippines-Bayer Crop Science; and CropLife Philippines.

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