Officers and members of the International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS)-Malaysian Chapter and the Agricultural Institute of Malaysia (AIM) paid a courtesy visit to the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 11 November 2023. The ISSAAS-Malaysian Chapter delegation was led by its treasurer, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Norida Mazlan of the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), while the AIM delegation was led by its president, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abdul Shukor Juraimi, also from UPM.
The visitors were oriented on the Center's mandate, programs, and offerings, particularly the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) grants and activities and research initiatives such as the Consortium for Agricultural Development, Research, and Extension (CADRE).
Ms. Bernice Anne De Torres, program specialist, Research and Thought Leadership, shared CADRE's vision to build a regional network of high-caliber, like-minded institutions that will collaborate in delivering research and extension support to the most pressing issues and challenges faced by the Southeast Asian agriculture sector.
Moreover, Ms. De Torres also discussed SEARCA's Carbon Farming Project, which intends to support efforts in reducing GHG emissions from the agriculture sector while providing farmers with alternative income through profitable carbon agribusiness models. This project will focus on the carbon farming practices of high-value crop production in eight of the 11 Southeast Asian countries, namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The visitors were welcomed by Dr. Nur Azura Adam, SEARCA deputy director for programs, who also serves as ISSAAS-Malaysian Chapter vice president and Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA deputy director for administration. With them in the meeting were Ms. Sharon Malaiba, unit head, Partnerships; Ms. De Torres; Ms. Ma. Victoria Bravo, executive assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs; and Partnerships Unit staff. They were also given a tour of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Next Generation (SHARING).