Determined to find ways on how to better improve farm produce and minimize the effects of climate change and global warming on agricultural products, technical experts, scientists, stakeholders and agriculture industry players recently gathered in Manila for the 25th Asian Seed Congress.
During the event, the Access to Seeds Foundation (ASF) presented its first regional index for South and Southeast Asia.
The ASF is an independent, non-profit organization allied with the Netherlands -based World Benchmarking Alliance that publishes the Access to Seeds Index (ASI).
Improving the productivity of smallholder farmers is one of the main targets on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda.
By measuring the seed industry’s performance, the ASI aims to contribute in achieving the SDG goals and encourage seed companies to step up their efforts to support smallholder farmers productivity.
It scores companies in several areas and looks at the strategy and targets in place to reach smallholders, stakeholder engagement and how companies deal with intellectual property rights.
It also looks at efforts in research and breeding, marketing and capacity-building of farmers.
The index is based on publicly available information and a questionnaire that companies were asked to fill in.
In the same congress, Bayer, one of the leading agriculture firms in the world launched Arize AZ 8433 DT, a dual trait hybrid rice variety with measurably improved tolerance to both brown plant hopper (BPH) and bacterial leaf blight (BLB).
Arize AZ 8433 DT is the first available hybrid variety in the Philippines that offers tolerance to both of these harmful pest and bacterial disease.
BPH is a re-emerging pest, species that has become prevalent in the Philippines particularly in areas of high cropping intensity.
“We are proud that our efforts to grant smallholder farmers access to high-quality seeds and help them grow their businesses are recognized,” said Jens Hartmann, head of the Asia Pacific Region for the crop science division of Bayer.
In 2017, the Department of Agriculture reported 541 hectares of BPH infestation in Eastern Visayas resulting in approximately P17 million worth of agricultural damage.
The new variety offers added protection against BPH by delaying hopperburn, giving farmers ample time to control further damage.