SEARCA awarded at Myanmar celebration of World Food Day

  • 16 October 2015

His Excellency President Thein Sein of Myanmar (front, second from right), presents the plaque of recognition to Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. (leftmost), SEARCA Director, at the World Food Day celebration of Myanmar on 16 October 2015 at Yezin Agricultural University (YAU) in Nay Pyi Taw. [br] (Photo courtesy of MOAI, Myanmar)

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has been recognized by the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for “its significant contribution and continuous support to sustainable Agriculture Sector Development through Human Resource Development in Myanmar.”

Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, accepted the award presented by His Excellency President Thein Sein of Myanmar, during the country’s commemoration of World Food Day on 16 October 2015 at Yezin Agricultural University (YAU) in Nay Pyi Taw.

The event was attended by officials and staff from various ministries, diplomats, and representatives from United Nations agencies, other international organizations, and the private sector. SEARCA’s delegation included Ms. Adoracion T. Robles, Unit Head for Management Services and Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director.

Currently, 27 Myanmar are enrolled in PhD and master’s programs at universities in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand under SEARCA scholarship. All told, SEARCA awarded 80 master’s and PhD scholarships to Myanmar nationals to date, 53 of whom have completed their graduate programs.

Moreover, 167 Myanmar had participated in 33 international, regional, and national training, seminars, and other learning events conducted by SEARCA. Myanmar also participated in the seven Policy Roundtables for policymakers and rural development practitioners organized by SEARCA from 2004 to 2011 and hosted three of the seven high-level meetings.

At present, two Myanmar researchers are implementing research projects funded by SEARCA under its Seed Fund for Research and Training (SFRT). The other four Myanmar SFRT grantees had completed their projects, while two others availed of SEARCA travel grants to present the result of their research in scientific conferences.

Myanmar is also covered by two ongoing SEARCA-implemented research projects in Southeast Asia. One of the projects is on food reserves management and the other is on social forestry as it relates to climate change, food security, and poverty alleviation.

YAU is one of the first three beneficiaries of SEARCA’s Institutional Development Assistance (IDA) Program, which develops strategic universities in Southeast Asia that have the potential to contribute to the country’s development. Dr. Saguiguit said SEARCA is assisting YAU so it can effectively support the agricultural development agenda of MOAI. SEARCA supported and facilitated an institutional review to improve YAU’s curriculum and course offerings. Its continuing support to YAU includes PhD scholarships awarded to two YAU faculty members. (Leah Lyn D. Domingo)