Agriculture in the Philippines is perceived to be lagging in its contributions to national development. In the broad sense, agriculture includes crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries, which account for only 12% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the Food and Beverage (FB) manufacturing sector, which draws its raw materials from primary production, accounts for 17% of GDP. If the services component of the FB subsector were added up, the total for primary production and FB manufacturing is 35-39% of GDP.
Historically, a large part of the efforts of the UPLB College of Agriculture (UPLB CA) has been on primary production, helping small farmers improve their productivity and thereby increasing their incomes. The preoccupation with primary production and family farms to the neglect of agribusiness has, to some extent, marginalized the role of UPLB CA in the modernization of Philippine agriculture.
A paradigm shift of the UPLB CA that addresses the value chain from primary production in the farms to food on the table is therefore proposed. This will be consistent with the modernization ideal, recognizing the need to transform Philippine Agriculture towards inclusive and sustainable growth that links and benefits farmers in the value chain and promoting product innovation and market diversification.
This calls for a purposeful realignment of UPLB CA’s teaching, research and development, and extension programs as well as its organization to support the country’s drive to modernize the agriculture sector. It is expected to produce the relevant trained manpower, along with new knowledge and technologies that are essential in developing globally competitive modern agriculture-based industries in the Philippines.
In view of this, the restructuring of the College of Agriculture, including its renaming to the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) was approved. The degree-granting units was likewise identified and renamed as institutes. Further, it is approved that the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) and Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (PHTRC) become separate units from the Crop Science Cluster (CSC), National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) from the Crop Protection Cluster (CPC), and the Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) from the Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster (ADSC).
The CAFS continuous on its mission as the premier institution of higher learning in agriculture and food sciences, committed to the development and implementation of relevant programs in education, research, extension, policy-making and advocacy, and nation-building.