TRANSFORMING rice farms to be more resilient to climate change needs more science and technology (S&T), according to an intergovernmental treaty organization, based at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna province.
Director Glenn Gregorio of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture noted this during a series of webinars, dubbed "Pagtugon sa mga Hamon sa Pagbabago sa Klima" and organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines and The Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service Foundation Inc.
S&T will enable "transfarming" to produce climate change-ready crop varieties as well as quality seeds, mechanization and digitized farming, and nutritional revolution in farming through smart fertilization and water-saving technologies such as drip irrigation, according to Gregorio.
Also a NAST academician, he centered his topic on "Food on an increasingly hot plate: Climate change and food security" during the webinars.
Gregorio said changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme weather events have been occurring and have affected economies and lives around the globe.
"Transformation in our food systems should start with our farmers, from a farmer as a producer-only to a 'transfarmer,'" he added.
Gregorio pointed out that "climate change in agriculture is not just a problem, it is a driver for research and business," and thus,"agriculture must be treated as [a] business and industry, and our farmers must be transformed to become 'transfarmers.'"
Sharing that he developed a solar dryer and a refrigeration system when he was still in high school, he cited the strong potential of the youth to create possibilities and new innovations in agriculture.
Affirming the potential of the youth, Aura Matias, a NAST academician, said the purpose for which the webinar series was conducted was 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."
Gregorio said it was goaod that young people were 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 added, urging the youth to "be the heroes we never were, and do it now."