As Myanmar focuses on improving its rice industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) is looking to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) for assistance in graduate education and short-term training to produce new rice breeders, scientists, and researchers.
This was underscored by Dr. Ye Tint Tun, Director General (DG), Department of Agricultural Research, MOAI and Country Representative of Myanmar to the SEARCA Governing Board, during his visit to SEARCA on 11 September 2015.
With the DG were two representatives from Myanmar’s private sector and Dr. Romeo V. Labios, Scientist II–Agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-Myanmar Office. They were received and given a briefing on SEARCA and its programs by Dr. Bessie M. Burgos and Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, SEARCA Program Heads for Research and Development and Graduate Education and Institutional Development, respectively, along with Ms. Adoracion T. Robles, Unit Head for Management Services and Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director; Dr. Mariliza V. Ticsay, Unit Head for Knowledge Resources; and other key Center staff.
In particular, Dr. Ye Tint Tun said MOAI is in need of a scholarship program that will enhance the country’s human resources along the rice value chain, with emphasis on rice breeding, production, and postharvest.
He also expressed interest in a Sandwich Program for MOAI staff and inquired if there is such an opportunity with Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI). Dr. Cuaresma said the MOAI staff are eligible to apply for the Tokyo NODAI Dissertation Doctorate Scholarship.
The DG added that Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), Myanmar’s only agricultural university, needs to update and improve its curricula.
Dr. Burgos reaffirmed the Center’s readiness to help YAU in its curriculum enhancement initiatives as part of SEARCA’s Institutional Development Assistance (IDA) Program. YAU is one of the first three beneficiaries of the IDA Program.
At present, SEARCA is helping YAU in looking for funds to support its Development Plan, which is envisioned to enable the university to effectively support the agricultural development agenda of MOAI.
Moreover, SEARCA awarded PhD scholarships to two YAU faculty members starting academic year 2014/2015 as part of its continuing institutional development assistance to the university. (Leah Lyn D. Domingo)
During his first visit to SEARCA on 11 September 2015, Dr. Ye Tint Tun (second from left) elaborated on the need of MOAI for a scholarship program that will enhance human resources along the seed industry value chain.