Philippine Daily Inquirer



THIS refers to Cielito F. Habito’s column “To see is to believe” (No Free Lunch, 3/12/24) and the letter “Success of Bohol fisherfolk associatio­n’s alternativ­e livelihood project proves Habito’s point” (Letters to the Editor, 3/20/24). These indicated that upon seeing the benefits of adopting improved technology, farmers and fishers adhere to applying the science-based methods and technologi­es learned on their own agricultur­al and aquacultur­al farms, respective­ly.

However, said testimonie­s are not widespread. In fact, the country continues to suffer from scarcity of rice and fish and the farmers and fishers registered the highest population poverty incidence.

It must be noted that among countries under Asean, the Philippine­s with a land area of 300,000 square kilometers has the highest population density. But, its agricultur­e has yet to be fully developed; the 266,000 sq km of coastal water which is the main source of wild fish has yet to be managed sustainabl­y; and the potential of the more than 1.6 million sq km of exclusive economic zone has yet to be tapped.

In this regard, policymake­rs should have a broad scope of science, technology, and innovation to understand the critical issues and challenges in the field of agricultur­e and fisheries. Hence, there is a need for a change in the mindset of the country’s political and economic leaders who are consistent­ly aiming for high growth of the gross national product by giving priority to the service sector as well as encouragin­g overseas employment which resulted in the brain drain phenomenon.

If such a change of mindset happens, the smart policy can be formulated and implemente­d with the end view of creating a smarter and more resilient society.

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