Los Baños, Laguna is the site of a two-country study on coping strategies to ensure food security among urban households during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is jointly implemented by of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and its Indonesia-based sister centers under the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).

SEARCA is conducting the study in the Philippines, while the SEAMEO Regional Center for Food and Nutrition (RECFON) and SEAMEO Regional Centre for Tropical Biology of SEAMEO (BIOTROP) will implement the study in two cities in Indonesia.

According to Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, SEARCA Program Head for Research and Thought Leadership, SEARCA will attempt to enhance the understanding of the experiences of Los Baños communities in coping with food security issues and concerns during the pandemic towards generating policy recommendations that will address them.

Dr. Orencio explained that the study intends to determine the status of food security and identify the key determinants of households in Los Baños as well as the range and most common coping strategies adopted and social aids sought and received from government institutions.

Moreover, Dr. Orencio said the study will identify which components are most challenging among the households and generate policy recommendations on addressing food security during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEARCA has already met with the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO) and the Municipal Action Nutrition Office (MNAO) of Los Baños on 12 July 2022 to discuss the study.

Household interviews will be administered in 10 barangays in Los Baños that will be selected based on the consultations conducted with the MPDC and MNAO from 25 to 29 July 2022.

The interviews will be undertaken by SEARCA’s Research and Thought Leadership Department led by.

Student interns from the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Economics and Management (UPLB-CEM) are involved in the study, particularly in profiling the target barangays, data collection, and analysis of survey results.