SEARCA CEO to Aggies: “Transform our farmers to be Transfarmers!”

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 3 March 2021

SEARCA CEO to Aggies: “Transform our farmers to be Transfarmers!”

“I am reimagining the kind of ARD that the Southeast Asian countries deserve, the kind of agriculture sector we must leave behind for the future generations of Southeast Asians to come,” said Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

For a span of more than 50 years, SEARCA has been in the business of implementing programs and projects related to ARD in the Southeast Asia region. Its current role as a champion in molding farmers and farming families was revisited by Dr. Gregorio as he capped off the last session of the “Aggie Ps Talk 3.0: Moving forward in challenging times through Agripreneurship” held on 23 February 2021.

The event is part of the web fresher course series organized by the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Agriculture and Food Science (UPLB-CAFS) that aimed to reboot agriculture in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his presentation, Dr. Gregorio talked about how SEARCA changes the mindset of farmers. He discussed that the process of agricultural transformation starts with the acceptance that old ways are no longer beneficial to farmers and that they need to adopt a new concept of agriculture which is Agriculture 4.0.

Dr. Gregorio also talked about the transformation process that was envisioned using a process of backcasting, which articulates the desired future and working back to the present, describing the necessary transformations in the overall agricultural ecosystem.

“In this age of technology, we have also realized that the transformation of our farmers would require them to be innovative agricultural entrepreneurs, who can effectively and confidently use modern technologies and innovations to benefit the people and the country, who rely on them for food security,” said Dr. Gregorio.

Moreover, the SEARCA Director gave concrete examples wherein the Center walks the talk about transforming farmers into “Transfarmers.” Among the examples mentioned were the development of the pilot digital agriculture platform in the Philippines and the e-enterprise system for the Oggun Tractor to support farm mechanization for sustainable intensification.

These projects are under SEARCA’s core program on Emerging Innovation for Growth (EIG) that provides farmers wider access to innovative products and services as well as business models for increased productivity and income.

SEARCA, in collaboration with APPGeese, Inc., recently just launched AgriEx, a digital agriculture exchange platform that was designed as a fresh produce platform allowing farmers and consumers to have a fair exchange of goods through a user-friendly website.

Dr. Gregorio also introduced the Open Systems Manufacturing approach to the audience of the web fresher course. This is a bottom-up approach that focuses on scalability gained through architecture.

He ended his presentation by emphasizing the value of having a team. “We don’t need only individual heroes but teammates, moreover, partners in cultivating better, bigger, and smarter farmers. If you want to save the earth, collaborate with SEARCA as we invest in science that transforms farming. Together, we will win as Transfarmers!”