To further the dialogue on the frontiers in agricultural and applied economics, the UPLB Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (DAAE) of the College of Economics and Management (CEM), in collaboration with the Applied and Agricultural Economics Society, Inc. (AAES) held virtually the 2nd International Conference on Applied and Agricultural Economics (AECON 2023) on October 19-20, 2023 with the theme: “Advancing Knowledge and Forging Cooperation towards Sustainable Food and Agricultural Development”. The conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from the Philippines and abroad with 116 abstracts accepted for paper presentation.
Dr. Prabhu Pingali from Cornell University and Dr. Agnes Quisumbing served as keynote speakers for the two-day conference. Dr. Pingali talked about the food system transformations in Asia while Dr. Quisumbing discussed gender equity in food system transformation. There were four sub-themes tackled by the plenary speakers. For the technological development in food and agricultural systems sub-theme, Dr. Roderick Rejesus from North Carolina State University pointed out that economic assessment and development of climate smart practices are needed for continued sustainability, viability, and productivity of agricultural production systems–emphasizing the role of economists and quantitative data analysts in evaluating these technologies and practices. For the food security and nutrition sub-theme, Dr. Humnath Bhandari from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) focused on rice value chains and on how it can be transformed towards the future-proofing of food and nutrition security in Asia. He specifically mentioned the need to address concerns on: (a) increasing production and productivity, (b) improving seed systems, (c) building climate resilience, (d) crop diversification and value addition, (e) appropriating the scale of farm mechanization, (f) sustainable farming, (g) precision agriculture and artificial intelligence, and (h) the political economy particularly on the enabling policies and strategies.
Meanwhile, for the natural resource management sub-theme, Dr. Evan Lau Poh Hock from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak elaborated on the importance of harmonizing people, the digital world, and nature; and lastly, for the Governance, Markets, Civil Society and Institutions sub-theme, Dr. Thomas Reardon from Michigan State University emphasized the role of governance and institutions in the symbiotic resilience of agri-food value chains amidst shocks.
Ending the two-day conference, a challenge was posed, that if we harmonize our collective efforts in research, innovation, policies, and partnerships among others, we can achieve a sustainable future. “TOGETHER, WE CAN.” – Ruby Jane C. Estadilla and Arvin B. Vista