“Despite the constraints met by the Department of Agriculture (DA) like the African Swine Fever (ASF) and the Fall Army Worm, its programs are still focused on food sufficiency and food security. These pests and diseases are controlled, and the Department has reconfigured its goal in improving production,” Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo said during the Research and Development Workshop of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) at Cagayan State University (CSU), Andrews Campus.

“Climate change has a significant impact on agriculture. It has stunted the planting season, and during summer, crops have barely survived. However, we in Region 2 have introduced and implemented the Solar Power Irrigation System (SPIS). Farmers are freed from expenses on diesel for water pumps, and reduced carbon which seriously affects our environment is achieved. More importantly, the farmers have access to an unlimited supply of water,” RED Edillo said.

The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 2 (RFO 2) has 7 completed SPIS with an amount of 49 million pesos. The first SPIS to be completed is in San Esteban, Alcala, Cagayan.

Edillo said that aside from this, DA RFO 2 is implementing farm-to-market road program bringing the production area closer to the market. This infrastructure has eased the burden of the smallholding farmers in transporting their products.

“Fortifying production at the same time increasing the incomes of the farmers will pave the way to food security. Easing the burden of transporting livestock, poultry and crops will bring us close to food sufficiency. If people have easy access to food as accepted by their cultures, we are secured,” Edillo said.

CSU is the host of the International Conference organized by SEARCA with the theme “Food and Economic Security and Environmental Sustainability” attended by researchers from the United States, Canada, Australia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, and Indonesia.

With the Commission on Higher Education, SEARCA awarded Plaque of Recognition to DA RFO 2 being a conference partner. (With reports from Ferdinand Cortez)