SEARCA grants propel six innovative ventures in Southeast Asia

  • By Lichelle Carlos
  • 16 January 2024

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) announces the latest recipients and projects of the Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions (GRAINS). The grants, ranging from USD 10,000 to USD 15,000 each, spotlight six projects that tackle farming challenges through emerging solutions, such as artificial intelligence, IOT devices, satellite technologies, and digital agriculture.

Photo by Dhana KencanaPhoto by Dhana Kencana

Indonesian innovator Muhammad Iqbal Djawad harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to create a smart aquaculture system. His goal is to attain precision in the rearing conditions of black tiger shrimp. Relatedly, Ahmad Fikri Abdullah from Universiti Putra Malaysia leverages computer vision to build an intelligent fish feeder device that will cut feed waste and minimize labor for small-scale farmers. Another grantee from the same university, Awis Qurni Sazili, is promoting electroencephalography as a tool for integration to animal welfare and halal meat production.

In Myanmar, Khun Ba San is scaling up the reach of MyFarmer App to help farmers gain access to capital. This funding is crowdsourced from investors with a focus on positive social and environmental outcomes. In the Philippines, Mary Grace Gasco exploits satellite data to predict soil moisture and manage water use on farms. Abhichartbut Rodyoung from the Digital Economy Promotion Agency of Thailand leads the installation of big weather data networks to provide farmers accurate forecasts for planning their cultivation, harvesting and processing of products, as well as mitigating impacts from natural disasters.

"SEARCA GRAINS is a catalyst for impactful solutions. We are honored to partner with innovators in these five countries and more in the future," said Atty. Eric Reynoso, program head of the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department. He encouraged researchers, startups, and entrepreneurs to pursue innovation that benefit farming communities and contribute to the region's agricultural transformation.

Grant recipients will present their projects at the upcoming online GRAINS Agri-Innovation Forum on 24 January 2024, fostering knowledge exchange and inspiration for future applicants.

For more details on the SEARCA GRAINS program and projects, please visit