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FIRe Up Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted: 2019-07-31

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The Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC), in partnership with the Institute for Labor Studies - Department of Labor and Employment (ILS DOLE) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines, conducted a roundtable discussion entitled, “FIRe Up Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Benefit of Farmers” last July 30 2019 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City. This event was the third in a series of fora organized by the AIM RSN PCC to discuss how the Philippines is preparing its sectors for automation, digitalization, and technological change.   

The event was opened by Dr. Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, Executive Director of the AIM RSN PCC and Associate Dean of AIM, and Ms. Tonette de Jesus of KAS Philippines. Dr. Francisco emphasized that while the Agriculture sector may be at the second industrial revolution, it can leap to the FIRe by taking advantage of available technologies to boost its productivity. Ms. De Jesus reiterated that the government must provide support to the country’s farmers in the form of social safety nets to address the risk of employment due to automation.

Five speakers from the government, think tanks, and farmers’ organizations presented during the event. Ms. Stephanie Rose E. Flores, economist at AIM RSN PCC, kicked off the discussion with a presentation on mapping Philippine workers at risk of automation in the FIRe. Ms. Flores highlighted that Agriculture is the sector most susceptible to automation. Dr. Roehlano Briones, a Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) provided a general picture of the domestic agriculture sector. He outlined some of the key issues that the sector faces resulting in declining performance relative to our neighboring countries. Mr. Cris Panerio, the National Coordinator of the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG), discussed the key challenges that ordinary farmers deal with and MASIPAG’s initiatives in helping and empowering farmers.

This presentation was followed by Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. He presented about SARAI (Smarter Farmer, Smarter Agriculture), a multi-sectoral project that provides solutions, including science-based crop technologies and protocols for farmers, for more productive and proactive farming. The last presentation was from Ms. Antonieta Arceo, Division Chief at the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture (DA). She discussed the Digital Farmers Program of DA in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc, which was launched last June 2019. The goal of this program was to promote digital inclusion among farmers for more sustainable agriculture and inclusive growth.

An open forum moderated by Ms. Maria Isabel Artajo of ILS followed the presentations. Ms. Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba, Executive Director of ILS DOLE, provided the closing remarks.



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