Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ASU hosts 4th National AFFNR Extension Symposium

By Sally R. Villasis

The Aklan State University hosted the 4th National Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Symposium on May 2-5, 2012 at the ASU Review Center, Banga, Aklan, with the theme “Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources Extension Service: Securing Active Responses to Uncertain Weather Events.”

The two-day national symposium, sponsored by the Philippine Extension Network, Inc. (PEN), aimed to provide a venue where community of scholars, extension practitioners and policy decision-makers, seek to stimulate interaction and share a wide range of platforms on emerging issues threatening Philippine Agriculture research development and extension due to changing weather conditions.

The PEN, Inc., as national organization of extension professionals and practitioners is the partner advocate in creating avenues for the continuing development of a cadre of morally responsible, competent, dedicated and self-directed experts in the pursuit of advancing theory and practice of extension.

Participants to the symposium are extension professionals and practitioners composed of State Universities and Colleges Vice President for Research and Extension, Directors for Extension, coordinators and faculty-implementers of extension activities.

Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, Chancellor, University of the Philippines in Los Baños, in his keynote address, said that securing active responses to uncertain weather events is to obtain sure, lively, positive and dynamic solutions to the problems brought about by climate change. In the context of the environment and agriculture and fisheries sectors, it involves the adoption of environment-friendly practices in pursuit of food security and sustainability, as well as the preservation of natural resources.

He emphasized that securing active responses also entails continuously addressing the long-standing issues of research-extension dichotomy. Research results have to be translated into extension messages, and extension messages to be delivered using effective extension strategies or modalities.  There have to be effective mechanisms to address these issues.

Dr. Josefino C. Comiso, Physicist and Senior Scientist Laboratory for Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences, Earth Science Division of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, United States of America, in his presentation conveyed about the global perspective on climate change.

He stressed that global warming trend is about 0.1oC per decade; the trend in the Arctic is about 0.6oC per decade confirming amplification of the signal in the region; warming signals are prevalent in the Arctic with the perennial ice cover showing a rapid decline of 15% per decade; the Antarctic is showing the opposite but longer term studies show overall warming, especially in West Antarctica; other polar parameters such as glaciers, snow, ice sheet and permafrost also show warming signals; in other regions of the world, higher frequencies of extreme events and heat waves are observed.

He added that in the Philippines, higher frequencies of typhoon, flooding, drought and fire have been observed in recent years; and effective mitigation and adaptation strategies are required to preserve current quality of life.

Dr. Esteban C. Godilano, Technical Expert on Climate Change and DA-Secretary’s Technical Advisory Group of Department of Agriculture discussed about the Impacts of Climate Change in the Philippines: Challenges and Opportunities to Agricultural Extension and Education.  Specifically, he highlighted the following concerns: science behind climate change; global warming and climate change; space technology in mapping; impacts in the Philippines; DA Climate Change Policy; Extension Strategies; Climate Finance; and what everyone can contribute.

Dr. Virginia R. Cardenas, of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services for Asia-Pacific Islands talked on Asia-Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Service (APIRAS) and Regional Networking for Rural Advisory Services.  

Various research development and extension projects were presented during the concurrent sessions particularly on Strengthening Inter-Institutional Collaboration and Networking of Climate Change-Related Extension Programs; Advocating Climate Change-Related Policies; and Enhancing Capacity of Extension Stakeholders on Climate Change-Related Extension Programs.

Meanwhile, during the symposium, PEN, Inc. recognized the meritorious performance of extension practitioners, extension projects and researchers in the country.  Likewise, it held its election of officers for 2012-2014 wherein ASU’s Vice President for Research and Extension, Dr. Anna Mae C. Relingo, was re-elected Member of the Board.

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