The key to achieving rural development and food security under these strenuous conditions, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar is “to empower local communities about careful but productive stewardship of both their land and water resources and to optimize opportunities to create more jobs and generate more wealth in the countryside.”

In a congratulatory remarks delivered during a joint seminar on value chains organized by Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on November 28, 2019 in Seoul, Korea, Dar emphasized the need for a strategic and responsible investments in value chains and integrated markets.

Dar also cited sustainable management of natural resources and a stronger focus on innovation and Research for Development (R&D) initiatives as key factors for economic growth, job creation and development.

“At the Philippine Department of Agriculture, we are currently improving our terms of engagement with our farming and fishing communities through the various assistance and opportunities extended to them. These include enhanced technologies, training and extension services, farm inputs, credit and marketing assistance, to name just a few,” Dar said.

The Agri chief also mentioned how encouraging investments coming from the private sector can leverage government funds and increase the service to further develop agri-entrepreneurship.

“We aim to empower our farmers and fishers by mainstreaming them in value chains towards boosting productivity and profitability, taking into account sustainability and resilience,” he added.

Crucial in enhancing agricultural value chains is making use of innovative technologies and tapping experts who are capable of harnessing these technologies to its full advantage.

On this end, Dar commended the focus of Global High-tech Agricultural University (GHAN) education on utilizing the efficiency of the best scientific knowledge and technological pathways and disseminating revolutionary technologies and techniques. This is on top of strengthening industrial and academic cooperation across the agricultural value chain.

“I hope that GHAN will, later on, consider agricultural universities in the Philippines as future partner-beneficiaries,” concluded Dar.