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Philippines

One of the many agroforest plots of Henry Binahon of Lantapan, Bukidnon province in southern Philippines. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Amy CruzDespite impressive economic growth in Asia and the Pacific, the region still has to address the food insecurity of over half a billion of its people. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA), including agroforestry and other diversified farming practices, has huge potential to improve food security and address climate change at the same time. At a Forum, organized by the Asian Development Bank in June 2016 in the Philippines, researchers, policymakers and farmers discussed what should be done to expand such practices and bring greater benefits to more people. Amy Cruz, Communication officer with the World Agroforestry Centre, followed the discussions.

Environmental degradation is only one of the issues the Asia-Pacific region is facing that has a direct impact on ensuring a sustainable food supply. The growing populations and economies demand that agricultural production keeps up. Farmers thus turn to new methods, which often can result in greater yields but can also lead to greater degradation and depletion of natural resources.

Read more: A virtuous cycle of virtually no waste: Climate-smart agriculture featured at Food Security Forum

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Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol on Thursday said the Duterte administration would push for rice self-sufficiency and protect farmers from the ill-effects of climate change.

During the House of Representatives budget hearing on the proposed P50.6 billion budget of the DA and its attached agencies for 2017, Piñol said the country should not rely on importing rice from other countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

He said these countries also experience the effects of a changing climate and natural disasters.

“We can’t depend on imported rice because even Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos have their own shares of calamities,” Piñol said.

“It’s because of this that we should achieve food sufficiency, because we don’t know when the next El Niño would hit us or what countries would be affected by the El Niño,” he added.

Piñol said his department would focus on rice production anticipating the effects of a changing climate on agriculture in light of the El Niño phenomenon that heavily affected the farmers’ harvests.

“Why are we focusing on rice production? The El Niño has given us a lesson. Climate change has made everything unpredictable for agriculture,” he said.

The DA and its attached agencies have a proposed budget of P50.6 billion for 2017, down from the current budget of P53.97 billion. JE

 

Source: Inquirer.net | 25 August 2016

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MANILA, Aug. 10 — Greenpeace welcomed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s call to review all permits and operations of coal-fired power plants in the country.

Read more: Greenpeace supports review of coal plant permits in the country

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