The award is named after the illustrious Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali who was an educator, institution-builder, science statesman, development luminary, and prime mover of agricultural and rural development in SEA in his time. He was the founding director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and a National Scientist of the Philippines whose scholarship and quest for excellence fuelled a vision for a progressive SEA. Likewise, his leadership in the field of agriculture has led to the development of the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture, now University of the Philippines Los Baños, into a premier institution of higher learning in Asia.
The first Umali Award was conferred in November 2008 to Dr. Vo Tong Xuan, an agronomist from Vietnam who has promoted diversified and sustainable agriculture. The second was awarded in November 2009 to Dr. Charan Chantalakhana, a pioneer in cattle and buffalo genetic improvement from Thailand who has promoted smallholder farming systems. The third was given in November 2011 to Dr. Ramon C. Barba, a plant scientist from the Philippines whose mango flower-induction technology has enhanced the productivity of the agriculture and food processing sectors. The awardee for 2013 was Dr. Sjarifudin Baharsjah, a development advocate and public servant from Indonesia whose pioneering of the agribusiness systems concept to promote agricultural development in his country led to improved incomes and welfare of small farmers.
The roster of distinguished achievers awaits the next steward of agricultural and rural development (ARD) whose accomplishments serve as inspiration and help catalyze the promotion of ARD in SEA. Nominations can be sent to The Secretariat, Umali Award, SEARCA, College, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines 4031 or via email . More information is available here.
The Umali Award is expected to be given every two years and comes with a cash prize of USD 10,000.
Launched on 27 November 2007, the award is a collaboration among SEARCA, National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST, Philippines), and Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation (DLUF).