Los Baños, Laguna—The Philippine-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture was lauded for its 2017-2018 accomplishments by its 11-country member Governing Board during its annual meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam earlier this month.
Some of its accomplishments were 63 new master’s and PhD scholarships awarded in addition to 143 ongoing scholarships, 26 research projects conducted, 97 research projects supported, 26 conferences and workshops convened, 34 training and knowledge events conducted, 30 news publications produced, and 28 new formal agreements for various development programs and projects signed with 16 international and 14 national partners.
As the highest policymaking body of Searca, its Governing Board conducts an annual evaluation of the Center’s work in the region, including the Philippines, as well as its financial health and operational performance, this time in Vietnam on October 13-14.
The Philippines is represented in Searca’s Governing Board by University of the Philippines Los Baños Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., who also chairs the board. Brenda Jocson
Board members in attendance were from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Only the representative of Brunei Darussalam was unable to participate.
Also present at the opening of the meeting were Searca’s Hanoi-based partners, including the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), as well as Searca scholarship alumni from Vietnam who shared testimonies of how Searca’s work have contributed to human resource development in their country and the region.
To support its programs and activities, Searca capitalizes on its good standing with both new and long-time partners to work in areas where they can make a significant impact.
In fiscal year 2017/2018 alone, Searca generated a total of US$2.576 million from external sources to support capacity building and research projects even as it secured financial support for operations from its host government, the Philippines.
Searca will wrap up its 10th five-year development plan focuses on inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in 2019.
A flagship initiative under this thematic priority focus is an action research on piloting and upscaling effective models of ISARD with pilot sites in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro to revitalize the calamansi industry and in Inopacan, Leyte to improve jackfruit and banana production, tilapia culture, and rainforest management.