Reshaping Agricultural Research and Development in Higher Education Institutions in a Time of Pandemic in Southeast Asia

Reshaping Agricultural Research and Development in Higher Education Institutions in a Time of Pandemic in Southeast Asia
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by Glenn B. Gregorio and Rico C. Ancog
2020 | Policy Brief Series Vol. 2020 No. 2

Achieving food security in Southeast Asia amid their growing populations has been a continuing challenge, brought even more elusive by the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. For agriculture to secure food for the world’s growing population, it already needs to produce more with less—more in terms of yield, income, and social inclusivity; and less in terms of unnecessary inputs, energy consumption, and environmental impacts. On the supply side, drastic change in both individual and collective behavior is needed toward responsible consumption. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the connections between supply chains and our consumption patterns, and the urgent need to redefine agricultural systems as food systems. A systemic view of agricultural food systems is imperative for the needed
transformation.

The needed transformation of agricultural food systems should stem right from the hallowed halls of the universities and colleges. The COVID-19 crisis has again underscored the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to produce agriculture graduates with a transformative mindset who are adept in understanding the growing complex social concerns and are able to effect positive change now and even more in the future.