The "Mindanao Symposium on the Future of Agrifood Systems," on 16 November 2023 at the Acacia Hotel Davao, will gather local experts from various higher education institutions and stakeholders from government and other institutions to discuss the future of agrifood systems. The event is organized by the University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin) in partnership with Visayas State University (VSU) and the Agri-Aqua Value Chain Laboratory.
Acad. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines and UPMin professor emeritus, will headline the event as the plenary speaker. Drawing on his vast experience as a pioneering researcher and advocate for plant breeding, genetically modified crops, underutilized bioresources, and sustainable modern agriculture, he will talk about "Pathways to the Transformation of Philippine Food Systems."
Another highlight of the Mindanao Symposium is a roundtable discussion on the topic featuring the following esteemed panelists: UPMin agricultural economist and former chancellor Prof. Larry N. Digal; UPMin horticulturist Prof. Emma Ruth V. Bayogan; VSU economist Prof. Moises Neil V. Seriño; Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) assistant director Meliza F. Abeleda; and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) executive director Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz.
The invited panelists will bring to the fore their various perspectives on agrifood systems in relation to the rise of Industry 4.0, impacts of conflicts in Mindanao, environmental trade-offs, and the role of R&D in regional and national development. It is hoped that these discussions will lead to a fruitful discussion on potential solutions to the agrifood system challenges of today and spur innovative research that can address the concerns of tomorrow.
Participants of the symposium will also learn about various advances in agrifood system R&D through special sessions featuring outputs from the Agri-Aqua Value Chain Laboratory, a project by UP Mindanao funded by PCAARRD, and the Mindanao leg of the Roadshow of John Dillon Fellowship (JDF) Projects conducted by Philippine scholars (2021–23 cohort), projects funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and brought to different parts of the country through the efforts of VSU. Researches from various higher education institutions (HEIs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) will also be presented in oral and poster sessions.
The "Mindanao Symposium on the Future of Agrifood Systems" is the first of many research communication events that will be organized by the UPMin Office of Research, in partnership with various institutions in the country, to bring together scholars and stakeholders to discuss topics in line with the R&D niche areas of the university, namely: (1) Sustainable Agrifood Systems, (2) Biocultural Diversity, (3) Smart and Sustainable Environments, (4) Health, (5) Sports Development, and (6) Innovation.
The current Mindanao Symposium is also made possible with the support of the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. (UPMFI) and the Southern Mindanao Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARDEC).