Baguio City—The government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture has rallied government leaders and extension workers to transform farmers into agripreneurs during the recently held 33rd Anniversary celebration of the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute-Cordillera Administrative Region.
Anchored on the theme “Vibrant Agriculture and Fishery Extension Towards Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita,” Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, during the celebration, emphasized that SEARCA is working with partners such as the Agricultural Training Institute to make a difference in agriculture in Southeast Asia and the Philippines in particular.
“We don’t just need a hero now, what we need are partners,” Dr. Gregorio declared.
He talked about SEARCA’s partnership with ATI-Cordillera Administrative Region in implementing the International Fund for Agricultural Development-funded project “Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Asia and the Pacific Region through Strengthened Rural Advisory Services” from June 2016 to February 2020.
He said the project aims to empower smallholder farmers through access to effective and demand-driven agricultural advisory services.
Dr. Gregorio also shared SEARCA’s strategic plan in the next five years starting July 2020, explaining that at the very heart of it is its key strategy to transform the agriculture sector by changing the farmers’ mindset to that of “agripreneurs” through the use of technologies and engaging SEARCA’s key partners, such as extension workers from ATI and local and national government leaders, in bridging science and technology to the farmers.
“Agriculture must be treated as a business and that it must be market-centric,” he stressed.
“We need extension people to explain newly developed technologies, including upgraded breeds of crops, and to be catalysts in changing the farmers’ mindset,” Dr. Gregorio reiterated.
SEARCA also presented ATI-CAR with its newly launched publications, namely: “Gender Dimensions of Climate Change Research in Agriculture” and “Compendium of Climate-Resilient Agriculture Technologies & Approaches in the Philippines.”
Hosted by the Philippine government on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, SEARCA is mandated to serve the agriculture and rural development needs of the 11 Southeast Asian countries.
In the next five years starting 2020, SEARCA’s work will focus on elevating the quality of life of agricultural families through sustainable and resilient livelihoods and access to modern networks and markets.