The 2023 International Conference on Sustainable Agri-vironment Education, Entrepreneurship, and Community Development (Icsaved) showcased innovative projects from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
The event highlighted the council’s efforts to promote sustainable agriculture and environmental practices.
Held recently with a hybrid setup at the Teatro Ilocandia in Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Ilocos Norte, the conference aimed to provide a platform for experts, practitioners and students to engage in discussions on achieving sustainable agriculture and environment through education, entrepreneurship and community development in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The conference’s program included four tracks or themes: 1) Data Science, Technology and Innovations in Agri-vironment Education and Entrepreneurship; 2) Agriculture, Fishery and Environmental Conservation, Protection and Management; 3) The Future of Agricultural Education in the Era of Industrial Revolution; and 4) Challenges and Opportunities on Scientific and Technological Entrepreneurship and Governance.
Partial results of the DOST-PCAARRD-funded project, “Assessment of the Digital Readiness of Vegetable Farmers in Selected Areas in Calabarzon,” were showcased in the first track.
Despite the significant impacts of technological innovations from Agri 4.0, Prof. Julieta de los Reyes, project leader from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, pointed out that not all farmers possess the same set of access or skills to utilize any of these technological advances optimally.
Hence, the project seeks to discover vegetable farmers’ digital readiness in Calabarzon.
Findings revealed that only a few vegetable farmers are considered digitally ready due to multiple impediments, such as ability, affordability and awareness.
Preliminary recommendations were made on how the digital readiness of the farmers can be improved, including tailor-fit training programs to farmers’ needs, conduct of awareness campaigns, enhancement of affordability of gadgets and internet connectivity, and increasing youth involvement.
On the second track, the DOST-PCAARRD-funded project, “Developing a Mobile Traceability System for Tuna in Davao Region, Philippines,” under Prof. Miko Mariz Castro of the University of the Philippines Mindanao was featured.
Project Research Staff Faizal John P. Untal noted the current issues faced by the tuna sector regarding food safety and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had issued administrative circulars and orders to respond to these problems and meet the standards of importing countries.
In support, the project aims to develop a traceability system for tuna and a digital platform to trace the key value-chain players of the industry.
Initial assessment suggests using a mobile application in android phones as its digital tool. The overall goal is that the proposed traceability system shall contribute to the potential increase in the marketability of Philippine tuna in compliance with the global standard for traceability and safety.
The two-day conference, co-organized by MMSU and the Philippine Association of Agri-vironment Educators and Entrepreneurs Inc., was in accordance with the current priorities of the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources sector in the Harmonized National R&D Agenda.