In a round table discussion on the topic Linking Agriculture and Food Systems to non-communicable disease conducted on November 20, 2014 at Hotel Jen (Traders Hotel) Manila. Academician Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr. discussed the agricultural strategies for supplying needs of a highly diversified diet.

Acd. Rasco is the focal person of the round table discussion and a member of the National Academy of Science and technology, Philippines, Agricultural Science and Executive Director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

Rasco talked about the Filipinos eating habbits and styles. They eat three times a day of white rice and in between eat starchy snacks. They lay down complete meal before them and eat simultaneously from all the dishes like soup, meat, and vegetables at random.

A healthy diet emphasizes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are high in complex carbohydrates. The rest of the diet should come from low-fat dairy products, bean, meat, and poultry and fish.

Agriculture provides the vast majority of our food supply. With the passing of time agriculture heavily relied on chemical inputs, that increased production but created negative impact to health, ecosystems and social equity, and affected farmers capacities to provide a stable food supply.

The negative impacts of industrial agriculture have been reduced with the development and promotion of alternative agriculture in recent years.

However, the benefit of food systems were believed to be not equally shared, accessed and unaffordable to low income families.

Strategies for supplying needs of a highly diversified diet are agricultural diversification, intensification, and integration.

PhilRice developed the Integrated Rice Based Agri-Bio Systems (IRBAS) or Palayamanan Plus to respond to the need of increasing farmers’ income and enhance food and nutritional security in a sustainable manner.

It is a farming systems framework that embarks on diversification, intensification, and integration of different farming ventures such as crops, livestock, aquaculture, mushroom, fruit trees, and biomass recovery system.

Through its nucleus estate strategy, services such as technologies and technical assistance, enterprise development, product development and processing, mechanization, capacity enhancement, financing and marketing are provided to farming communities.

Through the multifunctionality of Palayamanan Plus in diversifying, intensifying and integrating several production and processing of food crops and food from animal origin can address the need for a highly diversified diet. (PSciJourn MegaManila)