“Today we need more than a hero, we need the connivance of the Avengers and the Justice League.” This is how Director Glenn B. Gregorio paralleled the needed convergence and partnership of stakeholders in addressing the impacts of climate change in agriculture. Director Gregorio heads the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). He is the keynote speaker during the 33rd anniversary celebration of the Agriculture Training Institute-Cordillera Administrative Region at the Hotel Supreme in Baguio City on January 30, 2020.
Director Gregorio emphasized that climate change posts one of the most serious threats to agriculture. He cited the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization findings that crop yields in the world will decrease by 25 per cent come 2050 if climate change is not addressed. There are many interventions towards addressing climate change but these remain scattered and divided among the stakeholders says Gregorio. This is where the agricultural extension workers come in to fill the gaps between the stakeholders and connect the scattered climate change adaptation interventions to benefit the farmers.
The overall goal of connecting and pooling the scattered climate change adaptation initiatives, according to Gregorio, is to capacitate the vulnerable agriculture stakeholders to outsmart climate change. He emphasized that the first step in this endeavor is “to change our mindsets” towards climate change. Afterwards, stakeholders must know and understand the problem because “knowing the problem is half the solution.” Director Gregorio then challenged the agricultural extension workers as they “have to touch all of these things to bring a solution.” The resulting actions should aim to “decrease the risk in agriculture to increase investments in rural development” adds Gregorio.
Director Gregorio pointed out that it is sustaining the capacity of the agriculture stakeholders to cope up with and adapt to the adverse effect of climate change that matters in addressing climate change. He then shared the endeavors that SEARCA is undertaking in partnership with the government, private, farmers, and other stakeholders in response to climate change. Moreover, he underscored that since agriculture is knowledge intensive partnership must come in to help in the transfer of knowledge. Further, Gregorio reminded that scientists alone cannot do knowledge and technology generation, popularization, and commercialization. He also added that the youth must be given special emphasis particularly in valuing and venturing into agriculture. Finally, Gregorio urged the stakeholders to remain open to “crazy ideas” or innovations in responding to climate change in agriculture.
Director Gregorio’s keynote message ended with a short question and answer with the audience. There were 150 individuals composed of representatives, and agricultural extension workers from government regional line agencies, local government units, state colleges and universities, ATI accredited private extension service provider, and certified learning sites, farmers and farmer organizations attended the ATI-CAR’s 33rd anniversary program. This year’s anniversary theme is “Vibrant Agriculture towards Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.” (ACPVelasco)