Role of Collaborations in Mainstreaming Precision Agriculture and Precision Breeding in the PHL

In an independent food systems dialogue on innovations and technology conducted by the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA), and CropLife Philippines, the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to promote the adoption of precision agriculture and precision breeding in the Philippines was greatly stressed.

Attended by more than 250 participants from various sectors, the dialogue produced compelling multi-perspective issues, and identified challenges and recommended solutions to responding for various concerns that prevent smallholder farmers from increasing their productivity, efficiency, and profit. Most of these solutions require the adoption of a systems thinking approach wherein efforts, led by and coordinated with various agricultural players, strategically form part of an overall goal.

The dialogue obtained the following recommendations that highlight the role of inclusive and multi-stakeholder partnerships in scaling up precision agriculture and breeding in the Philippines.

Harmonization of interventions. Evaluating and harmonizing public and private sector initiatives would allow the pooling of resources and investments and contribute to providing access to local and international networks and multi-level capacity-building initiatives.

Regular conduct of policy consultations. Enabling laws from the government must be consulted with the private sector and other groups to ensure that they respond to the needs and challenges of the sectors.

Establishment of a tropical animal breeding facility. Sustainable investments and public-private sector collaborations are needed to establish this facility for long-term benefits and impact to the agriculture sector.

The sessions participants agreed that these solutions could address the issues that also elaborated during the conversations. These issues were around the following topics:

Land ownership and farm consolidation. In the Philippines, farmers can only own around one to two hectares of land that lessen their ability to be productive. Many farms are also not consolidated, which hinders them from availing most government support programs.

Investments on infrastructure. Physical facilities and digital infrastructure continue to challenge the further attainment of precision agriculture and breeding in the country. Expensive equipment and high-cost of investment are needed to establish and sustain their operations.

Stringent government regulations. There are certain laws and policies that do not seem to promote an enabling environment where the private sector and other groups can further engage in investments related to precision agriculture and precision breeding.

Funding Focus. The Philippines is dependent on imported animal breeders for the longest time which entails high cost and poor adaptability. The need to mainstream precision animal breeding should be done to refocus budget and funding opportunities to this kind of activity. While agencies such as the Philippine Carabao Center continue to conduct research and initiatives for animal breeding especially in water buffalos, the country still needs facilities to breed other farm and dairy animals.

Other issues such as labor management, and bad impressions of the general public about precision agriculture and breeding were also raised.

You may download all the resources and information such as the presentations and synthesis report of the UNFSS-Philippines 2021: Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Innovation and Technology here.