Farmers, fisherfolks, and scientists crucial in ensuring PH food security

Celebrity chef Marvin Agustin supports DOST-PCAARRD’s advocacy.

“Malaki ang papel ng syensya sa pagsisigurado na mayroon tayong pagkain sa ating hapag kainan. Tinutulungan ng ating mga siyentista at mga mananaliksik ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda upang mapataas ang kanilang ani, pati na rin ang kanilang kita.”

This is what Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary for Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), said during the recent launching of Flavors of Science Campaign, which recognizes the contribution especially of farmers, fisherfolk and scientists in ensuring stable supply of quality food for Filipino consumers and entrepreneurs. 

The Flavors of Science campaign is an initiative of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST (DOST-PCAARRD) that hopes to communicate to more Filipinos the value of the farmers’ and fisherfolk’s contribution and hard work to ensure quality produce.

It also aims to provide an opportunity for the public to appreciate the science behind the farm and fish products that they consume, most notably the scientists’ involvement to find ways to increase yield through science-based solutions to ward off pests, control diseases, and develop products, among others.

To do this, DOST-PCAARRD collaborated with a renowned chef, restaurant owner, and celebrity, Marvin Agustin, to be its agri-aqua ambassador. Agustin will showcase food recipes out of agriculture and aquatic produce from DOST-PCAARRD’s

R&D. He will also feature the people behind the innovations and the places where these developments are happening.  

As a chef, Agustin advocates the country’s self-sufficiency in food production, wherein big restaurants will use ingredients that are locally produced, instead of sourcing them abroad. 

“Bilang Pinoy, ah, masasabi ko na mas gusto ko sanang gumamit ng mga produce na talagang galing sa Pilipinas. Una sa lahat hindi lang talaga sa mapapatunayan natin na super fresh ito dahil galing sa ating bansa, hindi bumabyahe ng malayo. Ang maganda din dito ay nagkakatulungan ang maraming sector, ang mga farmers, kami as a consumer, tsaka business owner.”

DOST-PCAARRD reached out to Agustin upon learning that he appreciated Markaduke, a native pig often used in lechon (roast pig) which was developed by Marinduque State College through the assistance of DOST-PCAARRD. Agustin, through his extensive social media exposure, as well as his recipe and advocacy, will help inform more people about the science behind Filipino food, especially those that involve local R&D initiatives.

These R&D outputs are part of the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER), a program of the DOST that collaborates with higher learning institutions to strengthen their R&D capability through the use of appropriate knowledge and tools. Currently, there are 19 NICERs in the 17 regions nationwide that are focused on food production. The NICER program, which is part of the umbrella program called Science for Change Program (S4CP), aims to improve the country’s R&D.

“Inaasahan ko na mas maraming tao lalo na sa ating kabataan ang magpapahalaga sa syensya at teknolohiya, at mabuksan ang kanilang mga mata at isip na may syensya sa likod ng bawat pagkain na inihahain sa ating hapag kainan,” Guevara concluded in her closing remarks. 

(Image credits: Images grabbed from DOST-PCAARRD’s video on Flavors of Science) Marvin Agustin (center in white shirt), DOST-PCAARRD’s agri-aqua ambassador, chats with sweetpotato farmers from Moncada, Tarlac.
(Image credits: Images grabbed from DOST-PCAARRD’s video on Flavors of Science) Farmers, fisherfolk, and scientists work in laboratories and in the fields to help ensure a stable supply of quality food for the Filipinos.
(Image credits: Images grabbed from DOST-PCAARRD’s video on Flavors of Science) Marvin Agustin and DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, during the DOST-PCAARRD’s launching of Flavors of Science campaign.