One of the newest Academician elected by the members of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Phl) is Dr. Agnes C. Rola in recognition of her outstanding scientific accomplishments to the field of agricultural economics and policy in the development of a framework and estimating for the externalities surrounding agricultural production. Her work has examined the economics, policy, and institutional aspects of such externalities like pesticides and intensive cultivation. Academy membership is by peer recognition that have demonstrated and earned distinction in various scientific and technological pursuits.
Her research on her long-term farm work on the impacts of pesticide use in rice (which was started in 1986) on farmer’s health was instrumental in the banning of the three most toxic insecticides used in production in the country and led a shift towards government support for more sustainable technologies like the Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Furthermore, her work in economics of pesticides is used as a reference by international students and policy advisors.
Realizing the need of important agricultural policies to augment farm production, Dr. Rola conducted several studies using many localities across the country as bases of her researches. (1) Her study on the “Evaluation of the Performance of the Farmer Field Graduates in Iloilo” had shown that farmer-to-farmer sharing of knowledge is essential to attain productive results; (2) her work on “Winning the Water: Watersheds, Water policies and Water Institutions” recommended for a community-based management and to use the watershed as the unit for water resource planning (as implemented in the Cordillera region); (3) the results of her research on “An Upland Community in Transition: Environment and Economic Development in the Philippines” have demonstrated that agricultural intensification due to response to markets by upland farmers led to soil and water degradation because of the lack of local institutions to safeguard the natural resource use in a rapid economic development scenario and the lack of capacities of local governments to regulate such activities despite the law that give them authority. Capacity building could slow down such degradation and put the community in a more sustainable way; (4) her research on the “Role of Institutions in Managing Agriculture-Related Climate Risks: Angat Reservoir Case Study” has showed that capacity building in using climate information will help improve decision mechanisms towards climate risk management strategies at the local level.
Dr. Rola’s published scientific and technological researches already totalled 65, with other significant studies in progress. She also held a number of memberships in professional organizations, such as the Philippine Agricultural Economics and Development Association (PAEDA), International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE), and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP).
Moreover, her important works earned her a number of awards: NRCP Achievement Award (2005); NAST Outstanding Book Award on “Winning the Water War…” (2007); and UP Science Productivity Award (2008 to 2010). Furthermore, as one of the scientists involved in the preparation of the report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), the 2005 Zayed International Prize for the Environment awarded MEA for the collaborative scientific and technological achievement in environment.
Also, Dr. Rola has been editor of the Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development from 1995 to 2000; the present member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability and the Philippine Journal of Crop Science; and reviewer of some local and international journals.
Dr. Rola finished her B.S. in Statistics at the University of the Philippines Diliman (1974). In 1978, she finished her M.S. in Agricultural Economics at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) and her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin Madison (1985).
Currently, she is a Professor and Dean of the College of Public Affairs at UPLB. She is also a partner scientist of the Global Network for Climate Solutions (GNCS) coordinated by Columbia University, USA. Luningning Samarita, Executive Director, NAST