Transforming rice farms to be more resilient to climate change needs more science and technology enabling “transfarm” to produce climate change-ready crop varieties as well as quality seeds, mechanization and digitalized farming, nutritional revolution in farming through smart fertilization, and water-saving technologies such as drip irrigation.
This was the gist of the message of Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) at the first of three webinars in a series dubbed “Pagtugon sa mga Hamon sa Pagbabago sa Klima” organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) and The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation, Inc.
NAST Academician Gregorio talk centered on “Food on an Increasingly Hot Plate: Climate Change and Food Security.”
Citing that the changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, extreme weather events are occurring and have affected economies and lives around the globe, Dr. Gregorio said, “Transformation in our food systems should start with our farmers, from a farmer as a producer-only to a transfarmer.”
The SEARCA Director pointed out that “climate change in agriculture is not just a problem; it is a driver for research and business.” He thus surmised that “agriculture must be treated as business and industry and our farmers must be transformed to become transfarmers.
According to NAST Academician Aura G. Matias, the webinar series aims to “inform the general public, particularly the youth, about the changing climate situation in the Philippines and how this will affect the Filipino way of life.”
Dr. Gregorio thus stressed the strong potential of the youth to create possibilities and new innovations in agriculture. He shared that he developed a solar dryer and a refrigeration system when he was still in high school.
“It is good that young people are increasingly aware of the challenges and risks presented by the climate crisis and of the opportunity to achieve sustainable development brought by solutions to climate change. However, young people are not just victims, but also carry a lot of potential in carrying out and accelerating climate action. They possess massive power to advocate for change and to hold decision-makers accountable,” he said.
“Be the heroes we never were and do it now,” Dr. Gregorio urged the youth.