The Department of Agriculture (DA) will allot P100 million to beef up the research and development program of the College of Agriculture and Food Science of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
“More than academic excellence, the UPLB has been a wellspring of young leaders, as well as seasoned and passionate experts, who have proven their commitment to selfless and unconditional service to our countrymen," Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during his recent visit to the university.
Dar said the P100 million he committed will be allotted for three projects: P50 million for the Research Crop Protection Center focusing on plant diseases; P30 million for the Institute of Plant Breeding (50 percent, vegetable seeds production; 50 percent, crop improvement); and P20 million for the establishment of the packing house facility inside the campus.
According to Dar, the agriculture sector needs individuals who will lead in the development of models of inclusive agribusiness anchored on the value chain system as the country shifts into the "new normal" amid the pandemic.
The new normal will also call for engaging the youth in agriculture and agribusiness, digitalization of agriculture, and development of demand-driven and market-oriented research and extension system, the DA chief said.
Dar has been urging the UPLB community to level up its involvement in research and development studies on current agriculture issues such as fall armyworm and fusarium wilt affecting banana plantations.
"This inspires me to work harder and with greater sense of purpose as we at the DA continue to battle the protracted pandemic and address its impact on our food production and distribution systems," he added.