FIRST STUDENT-LED NATIONAL BIOTECH SUMMIT IN LOS BAÑOS HELD
SEEKING TO FORM a national student alliance for agri-biotech, student leaders from agricultural-based colleges and universities across the Philippines recently gathered in the country’s first student-led National Biotech Summit held in UP Los Baños to highlight the potential of biotechnology in improving the local agriculture sector. According to National Biotech Summit Co-Head Matthew Ty, the four-day summit initiated by the University of the Philippines League of Agricultural Biotechnology (UP-LABS) provided student-delegates with a platform for facilitating a comprehensive dialogue on the critical role of agricultural biotechnology in feeding the country’s growing population. It also sought to equip them with communication skills necessary to become engaged biotechnology ambassadors in their communities.
“It’s more of teaching the youth on how to communicate biotechnology to their family, friends, farmers, little children in a way they would understand and not misunderstood the concept of biotechnology,” said Ty. There were also short communication workshops conducted to train students on how to effectively address biotechnology issues and concerns at community level.
The Summit included several lectures given by speakers from prominent organizations of different fields, including scientists, university professors, and government officials. Speakers tackled the current landscape of the local agriculture biotechnology, the misinformation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as emerging trends and biotechnologies that improve local food production.
Meanwhile, UP LAB’s president Jacov Abelido hopes to pursue the initial formation of a national student alliance on agriculture biotechnology as the next step after the Summit. The alliance, which will be aimed at involving more colleges and universities from different agricultural areas in the country, will be tasked to form a shared vision in biotechnology and build a stronger student voice speaking about the relevance of agriculture biotechnology.
“UP LABS and its partners believe that beyond classrooms and laboratories, we should be ready to contribute [towards] meeting real-life issues. We’re looking forward to replicating the Summit and its profitable results next year, gathering more student participants and industry leaders who will lead the way to agricultural innovation,” Abelido said.
The Summit gathered student leaders from agricultural-based colleges and universities across the country: Emilio Aguinaldo College, Xavier University, Rizal Technological University, Central Luzon State University, Cavite State University, Visayas State University, and the Central Mindanao University.
As a partner for the event, Monsanto Philippines corporate engagement lead Charina Garrido Ocampo said today’s youth play an important role in coming up with new ideas for addressing real-world issues such as food security. “Monsato Philippines believes in the vision of this student-led summit, which seeks to engage the youth in thought-provoking conversations that address the challenge of attaining food security. It’s encouraging to know that this dialogue has inspired campus leaders to become movers and shakers in harnessing technology to feed the world.”
Student leader participants from the six agricultural-based colleges and universities at the Summit.