The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have renewed their partnership to develop and promote cooperation on education, training, research, technology transfer, and agri-incubation for the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia.
“We recognize the important role of PCAARRD in the Philippines and beyond in sustaining dynamic leadership in S&T to cultivate various platforms for AANR,” SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio said during the virtual ceremonial signing of the memorandum of understanding between SEARCA and PCAARRD on 29 April 2021.
As the apex council of the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector in the Philippines, PCAARRD formulates policies, plans, and programs for science and technology-based research and development (R&D) in AANR. It also coordinates, evaluates, and monitors the national R&D efforts in the AANR sector and implements its program primarily through its Research and Development and Extension Consortia located all over the country.
“Congruent to PCAARRD’s mandate as a leader in S&T, SEARCA envisions to transform agriculture from the traditional farming production into a more modern agricultural system that is Agriculture 4.0,” Dr. Gregorio said.
He explained that SEARCA’s mission is to highlight agri-innovations, best practices, emerging agribusiness models, and smart disruptive solutions to address present and future challenges in agriculture and rural development.
PCAARRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora said SEARCA and PCAARRD “have one and the same purpose – we want to promote and pursue scientific and technological cooperation. We both want to serve the people through science and technology interventions. Because we believe that science and technology innovation is the key to social and economic progress.”
“We understand that PCAARRD is already a leader in tech transfer in the Philippines. You are a prime mover in this respect, but we hope that SEARCA can contribute to the regionalization and internationalization of the work that you are doing in light of the ASEAN Economic Integration and the Regional Cooperation for Economic Partnership (RCEP),” said Dr. Rico C. Ancog, SEARCA program lead for Emerging Innovation for Growth.
Dr. Ebora affirmed that PCAARRD’s cooperation with SEARCA is a critical strategy to develop and transfer innovative technologies as well as expand networks and mutually shared resources.
He also pointed out that the common grounds for the renewed collaboration can be summed up as academe-industry-government partnership to support, facilitate, and implement co-created and co-piloted agribusiness incubation, information and technology transfer projects for the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Under the MOU, SEARCA and PCAARRD committed to a scientific and technological cooperation through joint research and development and support to technology transfer and commercialization research. They also agreed to implement capacity building activities such as scholarships, internships, mentoring, and research enrichment/sandwich training; joint conduct of and participation in scientific seminars, trainings, conferences, symposia, and workshops; and exchange of scientists and technical experts. The partnership will also include exchange of information, education, and communication materials as well as technical and scientific publications and information.
The MOU was signed by Dr. Gregorio and Dr. Ebora and witnessed by Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Executive Director for Administration; Dr. Feliciano G. Calora, Jr., PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development; and Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Administration, Resource Management and Support Services, along with other SEARCA and PCAARRD officials and staff.