Student leaders from agricultural-based colleges and universities across the Philippines recently gathered in the country’s first student-led National Biotech Summit held in UP Los Baños to highlight the potential of biotechnology in improving the local agriculture sector.
According to National Biotech Summit Co-Head Matthew Ty, the four-day summit initiated by the University of the Philippines League of Agricultural Biotechnology (UP-LABS) provided student-delegates a platform to facilitate a comprehensive dialogue on the critical role of agricultural biotechnology in feeding the country’s growing population. It also sought to equip them with communication skills necessary to become engaged biotechnology ambassadors in their communities.
“It’s more of teaching the youth on how to communicate biotechnology to their family, friends, farmers, little children in a way they would understand and not misunderstood the concept of biotechnology,” said Ty.
He shared there were also short communication workshops conducted, which provided students trainings on how to effectively address biotechnology issues and concerns at community level.
The Summit included several lectures given by speakers from prominent organizations of different fields, including scientists, university professors and government officials. Speakers tackled current landscape of the local agriculture biotechnology, the misinformation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as emerging trends and biotechnologies that improve local food production.
Meanwhile, UP LAB’s President Jacov Abelido wants to pursue the initial formation of a national student alliance on agriculture biotechnology as next step after the Summit. The alliance which targets to involve more colleges and universities from different agriculture areas in the country will be tasked to form a shared vision in biotechnology and build a stronger student voice speaking about the relevance of agriculture biotechnology.
“UP LABS and its partners believe that beyond classrooms and laboratories, we should be ready to contribute in meeting real-life issues. We’re looking forward to replicating the Summit and its profitable results next year, gathering more student participants and industry leaders who will lead the way to agricultural innovation,” Abelido said.
The Summit gathered student leaders from six agricultural-based colleges and universities across the country, including the Emilio Aguinaldo College, the Xavier University, the Rizal Technological University, the Central Luzon State University, the Cavite State University, the Visayas State University, and the Central Mindanao University.
As a partner for the event, Monsanto Philippines Corporate Engagement Lead Charina Garrido Ocampo said today’s youth plays an important role in bringing new ideas on how to address real-world issues such as food security.
“Monsato Philippines believes in the vision of this student-led summit, which seeks to engage the youth in thought-provoking conversations that address the challenge of attaining food security.” Ocampo further shared, “It’s encouraging to know that this dialogue has inspired campus leaders to become movers and shakers in harnessing technology to feed the world.”