PH expert is UN food systems champion

A Filipino scientist was appointed as one of the new Champions of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.

He is Dr. Glenn Gregorio, a plant breeder researcher and director of the Philippines-hosted inter-governmental treaty organization Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in this municipality.

The UN Food Systems Summit is expected to be held in September this year.

It aims to raise awareness on the centrality of food system to the entire sustainable development agenda and draw attention to the urgency of transforming food systems, particularly in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The Champions Network mobilizes a diverse range of people in every region of the world to call for fundamental transformation of the world’s food systems. Champions are leaders of institutions and networks advancing food systems transformation and thought leadership,” the United Nations said.

Before joining SEARCA in 2019, Gregorio bred rice varieties for tolerance to saline-prone and problem soils at the International Rice Research Institute for 29 years.

At SEARCA, he brings with him his experience and leadership in the transformation of foods systems both in the education and research contexts within Southeast Asia and ensures that SEARCA’s efforts align with those of other global, regional and national organizations toward contributing to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Gregorio said SEARCA is working on reinforcing transformative change in agricultural food systems through various initiatives with its partners.

“Such efforts include developing a digital agriculture platform to provide farmers with real-time farm management technical support and access to modern markets,” he added.

Gregorio explained that the landmark meeting seeks to help stakeholders achieve the SDGs in 10 years through a food systems approach, leveraging the inter-connectedness of food systems to global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality.

He is also a professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Agriculture and Food Science and Academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines.