Looming worldwide food crisis can be prevented through Science and technology-Angara

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 5, 2011-In line with the reports that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which measures global food prices may hit us all the time, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) made a statement that the looming worldwide food crisis can be prevented with the implementation of S&T based projects and the continued cooperation of government, academe and industry.


“The improvement of a national railway system could help battle the rising food prices in the country,” Angara said, pointing out that a good, efficient rail system that can help move people and cargo especially in the distant areas of both Luzon and Mindanao.


Angara said that during the time that he served as Secretary of Agriculture, he saw the abundance of food and goods in Mindanao but their biggest difficulty transporting their products to the consumers, saying that railway system can be built without marring the beautiful landscapes in the country.


The Senator believed that it is possible to build a tunnel inside the mountain that will not destroy mountains along the way by using new technology in train building and tunneling.


To support the initiatives of COMSTE, Angara has filed senate bill no. 2055 otherwise known as the Biotechnology Industry Development Act of 2010, pointing out that the world biotechnology industry is a multibillion industry.


“Medical biotechnology investment alone is estimated to US$200 billion whereas investment in agricultural biotechnology was worth US$67 billion in 2003,” Angara said, adding that the start of the 21st century indicates the coming convergence of agriculture and medicine with pharmaceuticals being produced by genetically engineered plants and the greater acceptance of herbal medicine.


To develop a biotechnology-based industry, the proposed bill intends to address the weaknesses of the country’s system where private sector is given incentives to invest in biotechnology R&D by allowing the total R&D cost and prices of shares of stocks in biotech companies as tax deductible.


“To lessen the burden of an unwieldy accounting and auditing system, majority of the government's investments in biotechnology R&D is awarded through a government corporation,” the Senator ended. (Jason de Asis)


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