Presentation on theme: "Advocating Science-based Agriculture for Farm Enhancement (SAFE) Calixto M. Protacio, Ph.D. Professor, UPLB College of Agriculture and Chair, iFARM Board."— Presentation transcript:
Advocating Science-based Agriculture for Farm Enhancement (SAFE) Calixto M. Protacio, Ph.D. Professor, UPLB College of Agriculture and Chair, iFARM Board
The Need for Advocacy in Agriculture
Society and Food Production While everyone in the agriculture industry knows that agriculture is science-based, not everyone in society understands this fact. Only a few people are involved in agriculture because science-based agriculture made it possible for other people to pursue other interests. Farmers produce not only for themselves but for a lot of other people as well. Thus, many people don’t know anything about food production and can be led to believe a lot of myths.
What is the Importance of an Advocate for Agriculture? The general public needs accurate, science- based facts from legitimate sources in order to better understand agriculture's importance to their quality of life. Agriculture needs to have a strong, clear, truthful voice speaking on its behalf.
Why Does the Story of Science- based Agriculture Need to be Told? The fact is that 'news' is generally made only when the news is negative. The positive message of feeding the world safely and inexpensively, of generating jobs doesn't make the news Therefore, agriculture has often found itself on the defensive and must become proactive in order to just go about its business.
What is at Stake? The future of agriculture and those whose livelihood depends on it is in jeopardy. The freedom of grower’s to choose their seeds, or even their method (and equipment) in growing crops is being restricted. Because some sectors of society have decided that agricultural development should proceed only under certain lines, approaches to feeding an exponentially growing population has become limited.
Agriculture’s Multiplier Effect on Jobs
What can advocates do to support Agriculture? Advocates can engage or support activities which focus on bringing truthful, science- based information to the general public so the role of agriculture in feeding a hungry world is better understood and appreciated.
Activities may include Educating consumers, teachers, legislators and the media, and even agriculturists themselves Monitoring emerging issues and Conducting media and crisis management workshops upon request
iFARM, the Advocate Initiatives for Farm Advocacy and Resource Management (iFARM), is an NGO which brought together communicators, scientists, and agriculturists who are interested in helping the populace better understand the role agriculture plays in providing safe, and abundant food supply to a hungry world. iFARM aims to ensure that consistent, accurate messages based on sound science are communicated to the general public.
Evolution of Agriculture My role here today is to show how agriculture (fruit and plantation crops sector) as we know it today evolved, and the role of science in this process.
Cropping Systems Planting Material Tree AgeTree Spacing Collecting wild fruit SeedRandom Fruit-enriched fallow or Agroforestry SeedUnevenClustered Home gardensSeed/ClonalUneven OrchardsClonalEven Corporate plantation ClonalEven
Cropping SystemKind of FruitsYield Level Home GardensMost fruits3-10 tons/ha OrchardsPapaya, citrus, guava, rambutan, mango tons/ha PlantationsPineapple, banana>50 tons/ha
Aerial view of a banana plantation (courtesy of Philippine Daily Inquirer) My role here today is to show how the agriculture as we know it today is based on science and why it is important for the general public to know and appreciate this fact.
Science-based agriculture has made it possible to produce high yields(tons/ha) PineappleBanana Plantation 9370 National average ( homegardens and orchards )
Science = High Yields The high yields achieved can be attributed to advances in crop science. Studies on planting density, nutrition, plant breeding and physiology, and soil science made the dramatic yield increases possible.
Singapore Spanish’ pineapple as affected by planting density Plant CropRatoon Crop Density (plant/ha) Mean fruit weight (kg) Yield (ton/ha.) Mean fruit weight (kg) Yield (ton/ ha.) 28, , , , , ,
Improved Nutrition Needed to Sustain High Yields From the study of Jacob & Uexhull 1963, Banana removes from the soil kgs of NPK for every 30 tons of fresh fruit In Dwarf Cavendish kgs of NPK for every 40 tons of fresh fruit These nutrients need to be replenished
High Investment Cost and Delivery Contracts Need Crop Protection Because of the high planting density and improved nutrition, the luscious plants attract diseases and pests, thus, crop protection has become very essential. Estimated to make up more than 50% of the cost of production Efficiency in application and cost is desired
Production must be efficient to be globally competitive The cost of production must also be low enough to be competitive with other countries. After all, pineapple and banana production is not a monopoly of the Philippines Production must be efficient and this objective has been achieved largely through advances in agricultural engineering. Machines were developed that made it easier to cultivate and protect large tracts of cropland
Since the bulk of the market for bananas and pineapple grown in Mindanao are destined for the export market, postharvest physiology and engineering, and the food sciences are utilized to make this possible.
SCIENCE-Based AGRICULTURE The body of evidence-based knowledge passed on to farmers in the form of improved seeds and cropping systems, fertilizers, plant growth regulators, pesticides, tillage and spray and improved postharvest equipment An empirical body of knowledge generated by the scientific method and validated by the worldwide scientific community.
Summary The general public needs accurate, science-based facts from legitimate sources in order to better understand agriculture's importance to their quality of life. Science has made it possible for us to attain high yields and to be competitive in the world market but it comes with a price The availability of all the inputs, tools, equipment must not be curtailed so that the development of agriculture can be sustained and remain competitive.