SEARCA Senior Fellow presents Carbon Wise Rice, highlights major structural changes in Southeast Asian agriculture

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 21 March 2022, Monday

Dr. Gregorio (second from right), Dr. Romeo V. Labios (leftmost), SEARCA Operations Consultant for Partnerships, and Ms. Beatrisa L. Martinez (rightmost), Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director, pose for a photo with SEARCA Senior Fellow Dr. Eero Nissila.Dr. Gregorio (second from right), Dr. Romeo V. Labios (leftmost), SEARCA Operations Consultant for Partnerships, and Ms. Beatrisa L. Martinez (rightmost), Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director, pose for a photo with SEARCA Senior Fellow Dr. Eero Nissila.

Dr. Eero Nissila, Senior Fellow of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and Managing Director and Chair of the Finland-based Newfields Consulting Ltd., presented the concept of Carbon Wise Rice in a meeting with the management held on 15 March 2022 at the SEARCA Headquarters.

Dr. Nissila is an expert on business strategies, business models and product portfolio development in seed and breeding industry, and on directing research and development (R&D) and product production schemes for meeting the market needs. He earned his Doctor of Agriculture and Forestry (Plant Breeding) from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

SEARCA Senior Fellows provide guidance in the development of programs as well as technical inputs in project development and implementation related to the Center’s thrusts. They also assist in establishing linkages and negotiating proposals with potential donors and partners in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Nissila discusses the concept of Carbon Wise Rice during the meeting with the SEARCA executive committee.Dr. Nissila discusses the concept of Carbon Wise Rice during the meeting with the SEARCA executive committee.

During the meeting, he introduced Newfields Consulting Ltd., a company driven and owned by international consultants specialized in crop production and crop improvement systems. Dr. Nissila also highlighted the growing importance of rice.

“Rice is the fastest growing staple food in South Africa. It is also a cultural crop. Rice carbon footprint contributes to global GHG, methane, and agricultural nitrous oxide emissions,” said Dr. Nissila.

The Senior Fellow also articulated three major structural changes which should happen in Southeast Asian agriculture. These changes include technology leap in mechanization and digitalization, farms reorganizing their operations, and evolving farm products from traditional to circular bioeconomy-based production of principal and by-products.

Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, Program Head, Research and Thought Leadership Department, highlighted what SEARCA has been doing in terms of the structural changes.

“SEARCA has started working with ASEAN to come up with a guide in promoting digital technologies for food and agriculture systems. We have developed a tractor and other technologies related to the conservation of agriculture,” said Dr. Orencio.

Dr. Nissila also presented to SEARCA the Farms-Communities-Co-ops-Hubs model, wherein carbon footprints of farms are measured at the community level.

“Carbon Wise Rice is produced with minimal emission from the soil, optimal use of fertilizers, proper water management, use of the most suitable varieties, and use of renewable energy,” said Dr. Nissila.

He concluded his presentation, “it is important to recognize that farming systems are at the frontline of carbon farming. It involves taking carbon from air and putting it back to the soil or recirculating the carbon. The importance of influencing policymakers or decision-makers to create economic incentives for farmers is the key”.

In the meeting with Dr. Nissila were Dr. Gregorio; Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration; Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Senior Program Head, Education and Collective Learning Department; Dr. Orencio; Mr. Glenn N. Baticados, Program Head, Emerging Innovation for Growth Department; Dr. Romeo V. Labios, Operations Consultant for Partnerships; Ms. Beatrisa L. Martinez, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director; and Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs.

Dr. Nissila holds a commemorative jacket as part of SEARCA’s 55th Anniversary presented to him by Dr. Gregorio. Dr. Nissila holds a commemorative jacket as part of SEARCA’s 55th Anniversary presented to him by Dr. Gregorio.