SEARCA and partners hold workshop on establishing climate-smart villages

this is an old release but still relevant

8 July 2019, Los Baños, Laguna

Being at the forefront of climate-smart agriculture and climate-smart villages (CSVs), the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) have partnered to implement a workshop on establishing CSVs for the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN) on July 8-14, 2019.

“This program is grounded on SEARCA and IIRR’s proven experience in conducting innovative regional learning activities and working with communities on climate-resilient agriculture,” said Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director.

SEARCA will host the workshop on establishing CSVs in the ASEAN region to improve food security and resiliency in local communities at its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

The CSV approach was developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to help address climatic risks to agriculture-based livelihood. Specifically, it aims to enable farmers to learn from evidences generated at the local level and build their own CSVs.

Designed for ASEAN member states, the workshop will provide the participants with experiential knowledge on the principles and practice of CCAFS’ CSV approach to promote climate-smart agriculture and its potential in enhancing food security in local communities.

The workshop will highlight the experiences in establishing CSVs in Southeast Asia, particularly the CSV in Guinayangan, Quezon initiated by IIRR.

Since 2014, the Guinayangan climate-smart agriculture interventions has reached 1,500 farmers through farmer-to-farmer scaling.

The Guinayangan CSV has also been a “go-to site” for agricultural development workers learning the participatory approaches, technologies, and social learning methodologies to promote climate-smart agriculture and villages. The Department of Agriculture (DA) used it as a learning site for capacitating 17 DA regional field offices and their respective local government units in developing AMIA villages—the Philippine adaptation of CSV—in all 17 regions in the country.

“Often in partnership with like-minded institutions, SEARCA regularly organizes high-level discussions that may support policy advocacy and encourage organizations to learn from best practices of their counterparts from the ASEAN region,”  Dr. Gregorio said.

Co-organizing the workshop is an initiative under SEARCA’s Umbrella Program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Southeast Asia.


15 July 2019

Filipino now leads Asian society for breeding research

A Filipino has been elected president of an international society dedicated to basic and applied aspects of breeding research in economically important plants.

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Academician and Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), is president of the Society for the Advancement of Breeding Research in Asia and Oceania (SABRAO) from 2019 to 2023. 

He takes the helm from Prof. Dr. Sang-Nag Ahn of Chungnam National University, South Korea.

Formed in 1968—at a time when many countries did not have strong government agencies focused on agricultural research or national programs for major crops—SABRAO holds conferences and its general assembly every four years, often in collaboration with a national breeding society.

Its 14th International Conference on Plant Breeding for Sustainable Development was held last July 2-5 in Gwangju, Korea. It was jointly organized by SABRAO and the Korean Society of Breeding Science (KSBS) and coincided with the 50th anniversary of KSBS.

First published in 1969, the SABRAO Journal of Breeding and Genetics is the official publication of the society. The journal operates on a not-for-profit basis and focuses on plant species or topics that are relevant to developing countries in Asia and Oceania.



Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio (left), SEARCA Director and new President of SABRAO, with outgoing SABRAO president Prof. Dr. Sang-Nag Ahn of Chungnam National University, South Korea.

31 July 2019, Los Baños, Laguna

University faculty from 6 countries convene to tackle challenges of Fourth Industrial Revolution

Faculty members of eight universities from six countries gathered in Los Baños, Laguna at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) to participate in a faculty forum focused on responding to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The faculty forum is an initiative of the SEARCA-initiated Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC). Its inaugural run last July 23-24 was jointly organized by SEARCA and UPLB.

A total of 66 participants came from UC members, namely: UPLB; Institut Pertanian Bogor, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and University of Brawijaya, all in Indonesia; Universiti Putra Malaysia; Kasetsart University in Thailand; Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan; and National Taiwan University.

UPLB Chancellor Fernando Sanchez, Jr. said the Fourth Industrial Revolution has been fast evolving and that higher education institutions (HEIs) should keep up with it.

“To enable younger generations to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to shift emphasis away from growth learning, knowledge consumption, and conformity, and build the huge capacities for innovation, creativity, and collaboration,” he said in a message delivered by UPLB Vice Chancellor Portia Lapitan.

The value of innovation-industry collaboration in empowering HEIs was underscored by Dr. Richard Abendan, chief of party of the United States Agency for International Development-Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (USAID-STRIDE) Program.

He explained that “industries define their problem and the university research is there to work with them in co-creating research projects to solve these problems.”

Dr. Aberdan cited the support that USAID-STRIDE extends to university career centers, professional science masters, and technology transfer offices at selected HEIs in the Philippines to improve their capacities for innovation.

A total of 43 papers were presented in parallel sessions focused on food security, climate change, rural transformation, and graduate education in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In two roundtable sessions, the participants to discuss key areas of strategic collaboration among their universities.

“They proposed cross visits, co-supervision of thesis, co-authorship of papers, and research collaboration on topics that transcend boundaries such as on studies involving the Mekong River or the South China Sea,” said Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, SEARCA Program Head for Graduate Education and Institutional Development.

She said another proposal is the extension of the current UC project on the Joint Master of Science in Food Security and Climate Change (MS FSCC) to a Doctor of Science in Food Security and Climate Change program.

The MS FSCC currently has 81 students from Europe and Asia, including 14 Filipinos, whose scholarships are managed by SEARCA. 

Dr. Cuaresma added that at least three panelists suggested that the UC use its influence to be an advocacy group for policies that would prioritize the agriculture sector or benefit the smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia.



Participants of the UC Faculty Forum jointly organized by SEARCA and UPLB last July 23-24 in Los Baños, Laguna.