Taiwan agriculture council and SEARCA discuss cooperation

  • 10 December 2015

Dr. Bao-ji Chen (fifth from left), Minister of COA, Taiwan, visited SEARCA on 3 December 2015. With him were COA Deputy Minister James Chih-i Sha (third from left); Ms. Ming-chuan Chung (leftmost), Specialist, COA Department of International Affairs; Mr. Eric Chen (third from right), First Secretary, Taiwan Embassy in the Philippines; Dr. Chih-wei Tung (sixth from right), Assistant Professor, NTU Department of Agronomy; and Mr. Ronald G. Mangubat (fifth from right), FFTC Information Officer. They were received by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. (fourth from left), SEARCA Director; Dr. Virginia R. Cardenas (sixth from left), Deputy Director for Administration; Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz (fourth from right), Program Head for Knowledge Management; Dr. Lope B. Santos III (rightmost), Program Specialist and Officer in Charge, Project Development and Technical Services; Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel (second from left), Program Specialist for Research and Development; and Ms. Zacyl R. Jalotjot (second from right), Program Specialist for Graduate Education and Institutional Development.

Discussions between officials of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) bared prospects for collaboration in graduate scholarship, particularly internship of SEARCA scholars in Taiwan; research on agriculture and climate change, among other areas of interest; and knowledge management, including training activities and exchange of publications.

The discussion took place during the visit to SEARCA of a six-member delegation from Taiwan, led by Minister Bao-ji Chen of the COA of the Republic of China, on 3 December 2015 to meet on possible areas of cooperation. COA is the authority on agriculture, forestry, fishery, animal husbandry, and food affairs in Taiwan.

At the outset, Minister Bao-ji Chen said Taiwan's research institutes are very strong and trainees may come and learn from them. He added that Taiwan is strong on animal biotechnology and aquaculture research.

The Minister also recalled that NTU offered a course on agricultural biotechnology for four years and coordinated with SEARCA in inviting training participants. Moreover, NTU hosted a SEARCA scholar who conducted her PhD research for a year under a sandwich program arrangement.

Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, said Taiwan can tap SEARCA to link the country’s agriculture universities to members of the SEARCA-initiated Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC), and catalyze exchanges between Taiwanese organizations and those in Southeast Asia with COA and SEARCA as focal points.

Minister Bao-ji Chen said COA conducts international events with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) yearly to which SEARCA can send participants. Dr. Saguiguit said SEARCA can also invite Taiwanese to its conferences and similar forums as resource persons or participants. Alternatively, COA and SEARCA can jointly organize knowledge events, undertake development of training programs, and conduct training activities.

In view of these common areas of interest, Dr. Saguiguit suggested the crafting of a memorandum of understanding between COA and SEARCA. A team from SEARCA will visit Taiwan in 2016 to discuss in detail the opportunities for collaboration.

The Minister was accompanied by Mr. James Chih-i Sha, Deputy Minister, COA; Ms. Ming-chuan Chung, Specialist at the Department of International Affairs, COA; Dr. Chih-wei Tung, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agronomy, National Taiwan University (NTU); Mr. Eric Chen, First Secretary, Embassy of Taiwan in the Philippines; and Mr. Ronald G. Mangubat, Information Officer, Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC). (Leah Lyn D. Domingo)