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Dar calls for pooling of know-how to fight hunger, climate change

PHILIPPINE STAR/ GEREMY PINTOLO

EFFORTS to end hunger by 2030 and reduce the effects of climate change will gain impetus from a pooling of international expertise, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said.

Speaking at the virtual 42nd session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) conference on June 15, Mr. Dar said such cooperation could be a pathway to meeting Sustainable Development Goals in relation to hunger and climate change.

“It is important that international pooling of knowledge, science and technology, and innovation is further encouraged, and that their benefits should extend to all sectors and stakeholders across all nations,” Mr. Dar said.

“Because of the complexities brought about by climate change and its impact on food systems, as well as the new normal brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we should ensure that the benefits of science-driven innovation find a place in our farms as well as in the homes of every rural family and ultimately, in every home in all societies,” he added.

Mr. Dar said the Philippine government is pursuing private investment and partnerships to modernize and industrialize its farm sector sustainably.

“Agriculture is the mainspring of rural economic progress in the Philippines, and its development is key to addressing the bigger part of our continuing problem of poverty,” Mr. Dar said.

At the conference, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said the global effort to end hunger, achieve food security, and narrow inequality is hindered by conflict, climate change, and economic disruption.

“The future of agriculture needs to be built on science, innovations and digital applications, that can produce significant gains in terms of increased efficiency, facilitate the good functioning of supply chains and enhance sustainability,” he said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said assistance should be given to smallholder farmers especially in low-income countries, adding that investment must be pursued in climate-resilient agriculture.

“Smallholder farmers are accustomed to overcoming incredible adversity and are constantly innovating based on changing weather and market demands. But they cannot solve this alone. Better data is needed to measure progress,” Mr. Gates said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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