More than 300 join 2nd International Conference on Food, Environment and Culture by BSU; Belgian Ambassador and DA Secretary are keynote speakers

Researchers and scientists from the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Greece, Japan, Australia, and Belgium gathered for the 2nd International Conference on Food, Environment and Culture (ICFEC) on November 26 to 29, 2019 at the Crown Legacy Hotel, Baguio City. This year’s ICFEC theme is “Building Climate Resilience through inclusive Global Innovations.” According to VP for Research and Extension, Dr. Ruth S. Batani, there were 130 registered participants excluding walk-in participants and committee members with 85 paper and poster presentations coming from eight countries including the Philippines.

The opening program held on November 27 was graced by Belgian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Michel Goffin who was the conference keynote speaker. H.E. Goffin showed a presentation on what he called the ‘plastic crisis’ and discussed the global scale problem on plastic pollution and possible solutions that can be done in the real world and not just through action plans and commitments written on paper.

“What I am calling now is not for institutions or government; it is for every individual to change their understanding of wastes, their understanding of plastics, and to stop single use of plastic,” he urged. Dr. Carlito P. Laurean, immediate past Vice President for Research and Extension of Benguet State University (BSU), said during the opening of the conference that ICFEC 2019 aims to better understand behavioral, biophysical, economic, institutional, political, socio-cultural and technological drivers, current and future global food security, and environmental protection.

“Hopefully the conference will address the food system activities of food production and trade-offs between economic, environmental, health, and social objectives and outcomes,” added Laurean. BSU President, Feliciano G. Calora, Jr. was present in the opening program joining the guests from National Line Agencies and Local Government Units as well as the plenary speakers. The opening program was hosted by Philippine Information Agency- CAR Regional Director, Helen R. Tibaldo and BSU-CAS Dean, Samuel Poliden.

Performances by the BSU Glee Club, BSU Kontad (Highland Performing Arts Group) and Cordillera National Science High School introduced or re-enforced the Cordillera culture to the participants.

The opening program was followed by plenary sessions. Dr.Suriyan Supapvanich of King Mongkut Institute of Technology in Thailand presented his research on elicitor treatments in maintaining and improving post-harvest quality of fruit and vegetables; Ms. Judith K. Carino-Fangloy of Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines told the story of how her organization came up with the book “Heirloom Recipes of the Cordilleras”; Dr. Young Jin Lee of Kongju National University in South Korea shared how forest fire fuel loads prediction map is developed in his country; Dr. Leila C. America of DOST-PCAARRD presented research programs funded by her agency; and Dr.Chinsu Lin of National Chiayi University in Taiwan revealed approaches and models he developed in space-borne lidar remote sensing for deriving canopy height representatives and stand height structure of forests. The parallel sessions included presentations on food, culture, environment and forestry. The day ended with the dinner and fellowship night attended by La Trinidad Vice Mayor, Hon. Roderick Awingan. The cultural performances featured a routine by the BSU Dramatic Arts Group that tells a story of how Indigenous Peoples were robbed of natural resources and how they came to realize that they needed to protect their natural resources.

Plenary speakers for Day 3 are Prof. Pantaleon Skayannis of the University of Thessaly in Greece who discussed the changing relation between local food, culture, the environment and experience tourism; Prof. Tanja Oraviita of the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences in Finland who presented the impacts of culture in what we eat and buy; Dr.Carlito P. Laurean of BSU who shared about building smallholders farmers’ climate resilience; Dr. Minerva Chaloping-March of La Trobe University in Australia who presented her study, “Cultural Resilience Towards Optimum Resource Management among Indigenous Communities in the Cordillera” who considers the study as a way of homecoming; and Dr. Jimmy B. Fong of UP Baguio who shared animated and nostalgic memories of eating in the mountains. DR. DAR STRESSES ACADEME’S ROLE IN DA UNDERTAKINGS

The closing program and awarding ceremony held on November 29, 2019 had Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, Dr. William D. Dar as the keynote speaker. Sec. Dar began by presenting the threat and damage of climate change to agriculture.

“Malinaw po kung ano ang nakataya: ang kapakanan ng maliliit na magsasaka, mangingisda at iba pang taga-nayon, at ang pambansang seguridad sa pagkain at katatagan ng ating ekonomiya,” he said. He went on to present the actions and options that can be done to address climate change challenges such as support to research for development and climate smart agriculture.

“At the Department of Agriculture, we launched a development strategy of "New Thinking for Agriculture" built around eight paradigms, as we aim to bring the Filipino agri-fishery sector along a path toward a higher rate of growth, employment, sustainability and climate resiliency. These are: Modernization of agriculture; Industrialization of agriculture; Promotion of exports; Farm consolidation; Infrastructure development; Roadmap development; Higher budget and investments for agriculture; and Legislative support. Dr. Dar expressed his hopes that the ICFEC will help further strengthen partnerships and cooperation in strategic points of convergence to ensure the reformation of the agricultural landscape. He also challenged Benguet State University to reshape its curriculum programs based on the challenges and opportunities of Cordillera; become The Research and Innovation University of the region; produce highly knowledgeable and skilled human capital for agri-industrial development of the region; develop models of farm consolidation towards an export and market oriented development with neglecting the indigenous communities in the region where special efforts be exerted as well; develop models of inclusive agribusiness anchored on value chain system; develop models to engage more the youth in agriculture and agribusiness; be the leader in digitalization of agriculture in the region; and be the leader in developing demand driven and market oriented research and extension system.

The winning presenters were recognized after Sec. Dar’s speech. The best oral presentation under the food category is “Development Evaluation and Nutritional Analysis of Adlay (Coix laryma jobi) Energy-rich Instant Food Products” by Rocelyn Imperial, Mary Rose Teodoro and Francis Ignao. The best oral presentation under the environment category is “Expectation of Villagers for the Blue-Green Tourism in a Remote Area of Cagayan: An Application of Travel-Cost Analysis for Sustainable Development” by Emma Legaspi Ballad, Yoshinoori Morooka and Teruyuki Shinbo. The best oral presentation under the culture category is “The Etymology of the Word Oragon Towards the Distinction of a Bicolano Ethnic Character” by Divina Garcia R. Galang.

The best papers with a complete write-up are “Formulation and Process Optimization of Black Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Bran Brownies” by Anne Gellie Pablo, food category and “Effects of Atmospheric Correction and Pansharpening of Landsat 8 OLI & TIRS on AGB Estimation Accuracy” by Nova D. Doyog, Derek C. Bayer, Christine A. Parian, Roscinto Ian C. Lumbres, Bernard Peter O. Daipan, Chinsu Lin and Young Jin Lee, forestry category. Finalists were also selected, these are “Physical, Chemical and Biological Degradation of Three Soil Series in La Trinidad, Benguet: Impact on Soil Fertility and Microbial Abundance” by Arlene Wayet, Carlito Laurean, Emilia Dayap and Jocelyn Perez under the environment category and “Integrational Transmission of Hanunuo Heritage Language” by Vanessa S. Casanova under the culture category.

The best posters are: “Development of Rice Mutants as Genetic Source for High Temperature Tolerance” by Lenie Pautin, Thelma Padolina and Rustum Braceros, 3rd Best Poster; “Isolation, Characterization, and identification of Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria from Different Animal Manures and its Potential Plant Growth Promotion in Mung Bean (Vigna Radiata L.)” by Angel Lovely Pama, Purisima Juico and Wilfredo Collado, 2nd Best Poster; “Documentation of Success Stories in the Use of Trichoderma koningii in the Philippine Highland Farming Systems” by Kacy Labon, Rhea Loncio, Ruth Batani, Cheryll Launio and Teresita Masangcay, 1st Best Poster.//R.A.Sabado&JSTabangcura