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Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, CESO IV

The agriculture and fisheries sector plays an important role in the economic progress of every nation. For the Philippines, it is the lifeblood of its people particulary those in the rural areas wherein majority depends on the sector for food and livelihood.

The Department of Agriculture, as the government’s lead agency responsible for promoting agricultural and fisheries development, provides the policy framework, investment, and support services to ensure that it is competitive and it contributes to the overall economic growth of the country. In short, it must ensure first and foremost that there is sufficient and affordable food for its people. “Rice and fish for all,” as Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala would simply put it. Since rice and fish make up the basic diet of most Filipinos, it must be the agriculture’s key mission result area of the Department.

To realize this, DA must provide the policy, the investment, and the support service thereby implementing national programs that will answer specific needs of the sector. One important support service is through Research and Development (R&D). To make the agriculture and fisheries sector productive and competitive, it must craft R&D agenda and strategies needed in the implementation of programs that promote productivity enhancement, develop environment-friendly and efficient technologies throughout the value chain of food production.

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), as DA’s lead arm for R&D, is taking all this into account. The bureau has realigned its RDE plans and programs to harmonize with DA’s programs. This fourth quarter issue of the BAR R&D Digest follows that track as it discusses some of the DA-driven programs that BAR is currently undertaking. All the programs discussed in this issue are focused on the R&D component only to provide the stakeholders a better grasp on the various initiatives of the bureau.

In implementing its programs, BAR always takes into account the five thrusts of R&D to ensure that the initiatives its taking is always in synergy with that of the Department. Among its R&D thrusts include: 1) food security, 2) increased productivity and profitability, 3) poverty eradication and people empowerment, 4) sustainable agricultural development, and 5) global competitiveness.

All the 11 BAR R&D Programs dicussed in this issue are synergistic to the R&D Thrusts. These are: Organic Agriculture, Climate Change, Biotechnology, Indigenous Plants for Health and Wellness, Adlai, Rubber, Biofuels, Rainfed Agriculture, Apiculture/Beekeeping, Soybean, and Breadfruit.

These R&D programs, although led by BAR, are multi-sectoral efforts of various R&D partners both international and local. They serve not only as responses to the various challenges of the agriculture and fisheries sector, but more importantly, they serve as testimonies that government programs works in the hope of improving the lives of farmers and fishers in the country. ###