SEARCA, APPGeese, Inc. ink MOA to develop a pilot digital agriculture platform in the Philippines

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 8 October 2020, Thursday

The ceremonial signing was witnessed by SEARCA Deputy Director Joselito G. Florendo (standing, second from left); Dr. Rico C. Ancog (leftmost), SEARCA Operations Consultant for Emerging Innovation for Growth (EIG); and Mr. Rafael Tabunar (rightmost) and Mr. Antonio Rulloda (second from right) of APPGeese, Inc.The ceremonial signing was witnessed by SEARCA Deputy Director Joselito G. Florendo (standing, second from left); Dr. Rico C. Ancog (leftmost), SEARCA Operations Consultant for Emerging Innovation for Growth (EIG); and Mr. Rafael Tabunar (rightmost) and Mr. Antonio Rulloda (second from right) of APPGeese, Inc.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with APPGeese, Inc., a start-up company based in Pasig, Philippines, to develop a pilot digital agriculture platform in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, Philippines.

Signatories to the one-year agreement were Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director and Mr. Raymund D. Austria, Executive Founder of APPGeese, Inc. The signing was witnessed by SEARCA Deputy Director Mr. Joselito G. Florendo and Mr. Antonio Rulloda, Executive Director of APPGeese, Inc.

Others in attendance were Mr. Sidney Alonzo and Mr. Rafael Tabunar of APGeese, Inc.; Mr. Benedict A. Juliano, SEARCA Applied Knowledge and Resources Unit (AKRU) Head; as well as Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Operations Consultant; Ms. Lichelle Dara E. Carlos, Program Specialist for Agri-Incubation; and Mr. Christopher T. Cabardo; Program Specialist for Technology Transfer, all of the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD).

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio (left), SEARCA Director, Mr. Raymund D. Austria, Executive Founder, APPGeese, Inc.Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio (left), SEARCA Director, Mr. Raymund D. Austria, Executive Founder, APPGeese, Inc.

The partnership of SEARCA with APPGeese, Inc. started with Mr. Austria’s initiative to look for partners to co-implement the digital platform of agriculture.

“I thought about the COVID-19 pandemic which made me realize that the food sector is really vulnerable. We looked for partners through social media and found SEARCA,” Mr. Austria said.

After the signing ceremony, Mr. Austria presented the design and implementation model of the pilot digital agriculture platform featuring AgriEx, a virtual exchange for agricultural production.

Among the main responsibilities of APPGeese, Inc. in the pilot project is to design, develop, build, operate, deliver, and continuously improve the information technology infrastructure and systems for the implementation of two base FARM Clusters – LTE/4G – 10GB CAP with 10 farm nodes and one base FARM Cluster – Microwave – 4GB CAP with 10 farm nodes.

APPGeese will also provide free access to the digital agriculture exchange platform website to the farming beneficiaries and to the Center.

During the meeting, Dr. Ancog, presented SEARCA's 11th Five-Year Plan (2020-2025) and core programs and activities. He said the EIG Program, with the SEARCA innovEIGhts Model of open collaboration, will be launched on 14 October 2020 via the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagement (SOLVE) platform.

Dr. Gregorio and Mr. Austria (center) with SEARCA staff—including Mr. Florendo (rightmost), Dr. Ancog, Mr. Juliano, Mr. Cabardo, and Ms. Carlos (leftmost)—as well as Mr. Rafael Tabunar, Mr. Sidney Alonzo, and Mr. Antonio Rulloda of APPGeese, Inc.Dr. Gregorio and Mr. Austria (center) with SEARCA staff—including Mr. Florendo (rightmost), Dr. Ancog, Mr. Juliano, Mr. Cabardo, and Ms. Carlos (leftmost)—as well as Mr. Rafael Tabunar, Mr. Sidney Alonzo, and Mr. Antonio Rulloda of APPGeese, Inc.

“We would like to build a culture of open collaboration and we want to make sure that we have a cadre of individuals that are really empowered and have a brilliant entrepreneurial and technical mind. We want these people to harness emerging innovations for growth and resilience of farming communities and agriculture systems,” Dr. Ancog said.

Moreover, Dr. Gregorio highlighted the importance of digital agriculture to modern agriculture ecology or  Agriculture 4.0 among the farmers and farming communities in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed that “the reality of digitalizing agriculture is won or lost at the farmer level, where applicability and sustainability have to be further tested. We will prove that digital agriculture is not just an abstract idea but is already a reality.”