How can we include the agricultural sector in the country’s fast-growing economy?
This was the challenge posed by Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), in his keynote speech before scientists and researchers who participated in the 24th Regional Symposium on R&D Highlights of the Central Luzon Agricultural Resources Research and Development Consortium (CLARRDEC) held December 5 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool.
Drawing from the event’s theme, “Facing the Challenges of Inclusive Growth through Research for Development,” the PCC head underscored the importance of cascading the benefits of the positive growth in the economy to as many people as possible, particularly to the rural poor.
To do this, he said, it is important to increase the income of the rural poor and this is where the role of research lies.
He said scientists have been devoting researches on how to improve productivity at the production level.
However, most of the benefits from this exercise are derived at the post-production level when goods are given additional value after processing. It is therefore time to focus studies on how to add more value to products while trying to produce more, Cruz pointed out.
He also emphasized on research for development as opposed to research and development. The former, he said, places research, in essence, as a tool for achieving the desired development, hence giving more prominence to development. The latter places the two as separate entities on equal ground.
Cruz challenged the scientists and researchers to understand the science of small-hold people as they are the beneficiaries of development and the subject of inclusive growth.
“As scientists, we have an obligation to spend our meaningful life on earth to contribute to science not only for ourselves but also to society,” he stated.
The symposium brought together a big number of representatives from 29 member-agencies and other government institutions that conduct and promote research and development in agriculture, forestry and natural resources in Central Luzon.
A total of 19 papers under various research and development categories were presented.