MINDANAO: Dealing with climate change is the challenge of the generation

With the announcement of a La Niña coming to the country, thoughts about climate and the changes therein permeate the air, and discussion about its effects on our daily lives are vital conversations we need to have, and engage more deeply.

We have seen how extreme weather wreaks havoc on economies. Experts have already told us repeatedly how we as a country are especially at risk of disasters spawned by a changing climate and the economic havoc it will bring.

The climate challenge looms especially large for those in Mindanao who grow crops. Shifting climate patterns affect the flowering of many crops that bear fruit, affecting harvest times and volumes.

This extends to the poultry and livestock sector, since they are fed with the corn we grow. In turn, incomes of those in the agricultural sector, which is a significant part of Mindanao’s current economy and potential will be affected.

Climate change and the more frequent disasters expected from these, affect the operations of other businesses, including the manufacturing and distribution of products.

In the country, typhoon season means delays in the shipment of products, preventing the people from accessing the goods and services they need, and diminishing income opportunities.

The effects on income and business disruptions are clear for all to see.

Thus, addressing the climate change challenge means that we go beyond our lamentations and gather more solutions. We, yes, we, including me and you, will all need to contribute and document our ideas that can help each other, as our collective experience and the solutions drawn from these are how we address the challenge of a generation.

This challenge prods many of us who own businesses to think of strategies to make our businesses resilient to disruptions. As we enter strategic planning season, understanding and dealing with the effect of climate related disruptions ought to form part of our assessments, as it adds a layer to discussing other disruptions, challenges and opportunities.

Key here is figuring out how we can effectively source our inputs and how we can sell more volume in more markets.

To my mind we can start with mapping backward how we produce our products. Are we compliant with environment, health and safety requirements and best practices? Are we able to find alternative or back up suppliers in case disruptions take place?

The next step would be mapping forward how and where we sell them to a wider set of customers and markets.

Once we figure that, we become more competitive even in difficult circumstances.

Clinical trials

We eagerly anticipate the release of the results of the clinical trials for virgin coconut oil and lagundi as adjunct therapies for COVID-19.

The Department of Science and Technology's work in pushing these is truly appreciated and inspiring. I hope many young graduates of science courses can pursue fields in science and technology.

At the national level, the proposed virology institute will attract many of our young minds to research on means to address various viral diseases.

At the regional level I think the DOST regional offices will be working more closely with other agencies to pursue innovation related research that can offer technology options that can assist our MSMEs to make them more competitive.

A strong suggestion perhaps is that the studies can also look into having these and other similar locally available inputs to deal with other viral infections such as dengue fever.

May this effort continue!

Let us continue staying safe!

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