HomeCommentaryStop reinventing the wheel; build upon science studies

Stop reinventing the wheel; build upon science studies

Building upon previous leaderships’ accomplishments guarantees quick results

A new administration need not reinvent the wheel on assuming office. Building upon previous leaderships’ accomplishments guarantees quick results. More so since past successes invariably are anchored on scientific data and practices.

An example is in agriculture. In 1992 then-Secretary Senen Bacani commissioned a soil study of the archipelago. Thick ring-binders of acetates illustrated the type and depth of loam — and therefore the suitable crops — in each municipality and barangay.

From the database farmers were persuaded to plant cash crops like asparagus, sorghum, broccoli, celery, peppercorn, even ornamental flowers. The LandBank and some rural banks lent capital. The aim was to replicate Japan’s One Town-One Product program as Thailand did.

Unfortunately, the chain was broken. Government devolution moved state agricultural technicians to municipal payrolls. Unready for new responsibilities, many mayors retired the experts. No second-liners were mentored. Farmers lost trainors in new methods and techniques. Buyers lost suppliers.

That strategy can be revived. New cheaper technologies can be applied for crop packaging, storage and transporting. Imagine carts on hillside ziplines. Harvesters can link up online directly with buyers like restaurant chains, hotels and wholesalers. No longer should farmers be forced to throw away unsold produce on roadsides.

Correct applications eliminate guesswork. With good aquaculture research for instance, the country may not need to import fish. Government statisticians must not limit data gathering to “consignaciones.” Few tilapia and milkfish-raisers drop off harvests in those fish trading depots, says aquaculturist Norbert Chingcuanco. Most deliver straight to public markets.

With accurate data capture, policymakers may discover oversupply in fish pens and ponds, and that difficulties may lie in transporting via dirt roads and clogged streams. Tutors are scarce in fish deboning and filleting for added value.

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Trainors are needed too in duck and goose raising. As contract-growing of chicken thrives, so should that of other fowl — with strict weight standards.

The Energy department too has a wealth of information. But petroleum, wind and tide surveys are gathering dust. Millions of dollars’ worth of studies obtained from international experts and oil-and-gas explorers will go to waste. Uncaring appointees let the documents rot and videotapes mildew.

Liguasan Marsh in Cotabato-Maguindanao-Sultan Kudarat has long been estimated to contain up to 20 billion cubic feet of methane. Yet no adminitration has harnessed the gas in the 2,200-square kilometer bog into electricity worth a trillion dollars. Neither have forceful seawater flow in numerous straits been used for energy from new tide technology.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau mapped all geohazard zones in 2003. Yet mayors continue to permit residential development in flood- and landslide-prone ridgesides. Environment bureaucrats know all the watersheds that need protection. Yet their mindset is to license those off to mine and quarry speculators.

Jarius Bondoc is an award-winning Filipino journalist and author based in Manila. He writes opinion pieces for The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon and hosts a radio program on DWIZ 882 every Saturday.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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