SEARCA concludes month-long summer school on food security
LOS BAÑOS, Philippines — A month-long summer school on "Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development for Food Security was recently concluded at SEARCA in College, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines from 1 to 30 November 2013. The Summer School is one of the activities under the Food Security Center (FSC), which is one of the excellence centers for exchange and development cooperation at the University of Hohenheim, Germany under the EXCEED program. The FSC's mission is to provide innovative and effective scientific contributions to reduce hunger and achieve food security. FSC is being supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany. This year, FSC collaborated with SEARCA, its network strategic partner in Southeast Asia, to implement this activity.
For the entire month of November, SEARCA served as home to thirteen scholars from Asia, Africa, and Latin America who have been chosen by FSC and SEARCA for the summer school. The program offered a combination of class lectures led by esteemed professors and resource persons, educational field trips, group work, and field practice.
On 4-8 November 2013, Dr. Cecilio R. Arboleda from the Philippines served as lecturer on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production Systems, with 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, Dr. Romulo G. Davide as guest lecturer, who shared his experience in spearheading the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) in Cebu, Philippines. The lectures were complemented by a field visit, facilitated by Dr. Blesilda Calub of the Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute (FSSRI), University of the Philippines Los BaÃ±os (UPLB), to the Tayabas Integrated Farming and Research Center in Quezon Province where the class observed on-the-ground sustainable agriculture through organic farming in the area.
2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, Dr. Romulo G. Davide shares his Farmer-Scientist Training Program experience
The class visits the Tayabas Integrated Farming and Research Center in Quezon Province
Dr. Laban MacOpiyo from Nairobi, Kenya talked about Population, Food, and Governance Issues on 11-15 November 2013. His lectures were supplemented by a trip to Barangay Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City, which has been recognized by the National Nutrition Council of the Philippines to have innovative and effective nutrition programs, particularly for women and children in the village.
Study tour to Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City
Dr. Friederike Annette Bellin-Sesay from Germany discussed the concept of nutrition security in the Food and Nutrition Quality and Safety module from 18 to 22 November 2013. The class headed-off to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, an organization under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Study tour to DOST-FNRI, Taguig City
On the last week of the summer class, Dr. Luis Felipe Arauz from Costa Rica served as an online lecturer for the topic Climate Change Adaptation for Rural Development and Food Security. The lecture was supplemented by a trip to the municipality of Mabitac, Laguna which showcased a program on disaster risk and reduction management, including other eco-friendly initiatives like the fabrication of hollow blocks with shredded plastic as one of its raw materials.
Dr. Arauz lectures via Skype
Briefing about Mabitacâ€™s disasaster risk reduction management program
During the last day, Dr. Percy E. Sajise, SEARCA Senior Fellow, Adjunct Professor at the UPLB-SESAM, and Honorary Research Fellow at Bioversity International integrated the four modules.
During the closing ceremony, Dr. Editha C. Cedicol, SEARCA Program Head of Graduate Scholarship said that holding the FSC Summer School for the first time was a challenge that SEARCA was willing to take. Despite a number of roadblocks, the month-long activity was successfully steered by the management team. Moreover, Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director said in his speech delivered by Dr. Cedicol, that the success of the summer school also serves as an important input to the Center's efforts towards inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia.
Apart from what has been learned from classroom lectures, discussions and study tours, the summer school was also an opportunity for the group to appreciate and share the different cultures, establish networks and collaborations, thus, making the summer program a rewarding and life-changing experience altogether.
As Jorge Tortos Barquero, a scholar from Costa Rica, affirmed, "We have gained new friends between and among us scholars and organizers of the Summer School, as well."