Gov’t hikes budget for agri research

August 11, 2015 5:17 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Aug. 10 (PNA) — As the Department of Agriculture (DA) strives to promote science-based agricultural development, the agency has increased the budget of its Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) from PhP 281 million in 2010 to PhP 1.12 billion in 2015.

The proposed research and development (R&D) budget for 2016 is PhP 1.33 billion, based on the National Expenditure Program.

This was announced by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during the opening ceremony of the three-day 11th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition that was held as part of BAR’s 28th anniversary celebrations.

The forum-exhibition themed "Teknolohiyang Pansakahan at Pangisdaan: Tulay sa mas Maunlad na Pilipinas Patungo sa Pandaigdigang Kakayahan," ran from Aug. 7 to 9 at the SM Megatrade Hall 2 in Mandaluyong City.

It aimed to highlight breakthroughs in agricultural R&D and provide fresh perspectives on technology commercialization.

It showcased more than 90 exhibitors from the DA’s bureaus and attached agencies and regional field offices; and R&D partners such as state universities and colleges, international organizations, and the private and business sectors.

In his message, Alcala stressed the importance of matching agricultural R&D programs and projects with the actual needs of the agriculture sector, especially small farmers and fishers.

"We need to identify specific areas where the results of researches will be actually used for the betterment of the lives of our farmers and fishers. We do not want these to remain in research journals and gather dust in libraries," he said.

Meanwhile, BAR Director Dr. Nicomedes Eleazar said that with increased funding support and improved governance, the agency has strove more to conduct R&D that redound to improving the lives of the Filipinos, particularly those living in the countryside.

He added that the bureau, in consideration of the ASEAN economic integration, has implemented responsive R&D programs to improve both to productivity and competence, delivering relevant technologies where and when they are needed most.

"With a more competitive ASEAN market, we do not only aspire to increase productivity, which merely focuses on production quantity, but also improve our competence — highlighting improvement of product quality, too," said Eleazar.

William Dar, BAR’s pioneer director and former DA Secretary, lauded the current DA and BAR leadership’s achievements in agriculture R&D and proposed that these R&D milestones should be complemented with agribusiness incubation programs.

Dar, who also served as three-term director general of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), added that agriculture development should be pursued within an inclusive, resilient, science-based and market-oriented framework, which the DA actually espouses under its Agri-Pinoy overall strategic framework. (PNA)

SCS/LGI

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