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Pay attention to the PBBM’s call for climate-resilient farming

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Rep. Wilbert T. Lee of the AGRI Partylist stated on Wednesday that the government must strengthen climate-resilient practices in Philippine agriculture in order to advance the nation’s self-sufficiency initiatives in light of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s call to increase regional food security during the most recent East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

In a statement, Lee said that while the Philippines has made progress in adopting climate-resilient agriculture (CRA), these efforts needed to be strengthened if the nation was to attain food security in the face of the escalating risks posed by climate change.

He highlighted a Department of Agriculture (DA) report that demonstrated small-scale farmers have already adopted CRA methods in the fields of aquaculture, livestock, vegetable production, integrated agricultural systems, and maize and rice agriculture.

While some CRA methods are currently being used by our farmers, the DA has underlined that overall CRA uptake is still low and constrained by a lack of access to better seed and a lack of funding to cover the investment.

To accelerate the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture in the nation, he said, “we must strengthen the DA’s Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) and the Systems-wide Climate Change Office (DA-SWCCO).

The AMIA was established with the goal of developing communities and livelihoods in the agri-fisheries industry that are climate resilient. Giving local populations the tools to manage climate risks while pursuing sustainable livelihoods, would be accomplished through the Climate Resilient Agri-Fisheries Approach.

On the other side, the DA-SWCCO was established and given the responsibility of managing AMIA, the climate change sector’s flagship initiative.

He stated that one way to encourage community-level research and development initiatives, especially in the 17 pilot locations of the program, is to give the AMIA and the DA-SWCCO enough legislative and fiscal support.

In order to address the interconnected issues of food security and climate change, the World Bank defines climate-resilient agriculture as an integrated approach to managing landscapes, including crops, livestock, forests, and fisheries.

The Philippines is one of the most climate change-susceptible nations in the world due to its geographic location and archipelagic structure.

The Philippines ranks fourth out of 195 nations in the Germanwatch Institute’s 2021 Global Climate Risk Index for the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019.

In addition, Lee highlighted a DA analysis that predicted that by 2050, climate change and variability would cost the Philippine economy some PHP26 billion annually.

He asserted that attaining national food security depends on increasing the ability of people involved in agriculture and fishing to adapt to climate change.

“It has become abundantly evident that there is a pressing need to boost food security towards self-sufficiency in our region, to increase adaptation and resilience in the face of threats to the global supply chain,” Marcos stated in his speech at the 17th EAS.

For both our sake and the sake of future generations, Marcos emphasized, “it is incumbent upon us to act forcefully and swiftly on climate change.”

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