World Vegetable Center, SEARCA keen on synergizing for agri-food system

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 30 March 2023, Thursday

World Vegetable Center, SEARCA keen on synergizing for the agri-food system

Dr. Marco Wopereis, director general of the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 22 March 2023 to explore possible areas of collaboration.

In a courtesy call with SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio and other officials, Dr. Wopereis presented the current priorities of the WorldVeg. He emphasized the significance of increasing the consumption of healthy or "protective foods" to the overall welfare of human health.

"We have been at our work for a couple of decades. We want to help farmers grow more vegetables and grow them safely because vegetables are high-value crops that generate good income for farmers," said Dr. Wopereis. "We want people to eat more vegetables because these contain important nutrients, which we cannot get from other food sources," he added.

He also noted entry points where SEARCA and WorldVeg can partner as the two institutions share a common goal of transforming the agri-food systems for the benefit of the people and the planet.

"SEARCA could provide us access to top universities in Southeast Asia where we can convene the best and the brightest in the work that they do," said Dr. Wopereis.

Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, SEARCA senior program head of Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), noted that the Center has established a university consortium for this matter. She also said that since its inception in 1966, SEARCA has heeded the call in developing a new breed of agriculture leaders and professionals embodying mindset transitions through its graduate scholarships and institutional development, and training for development endeavors. The WorldVeg director general noted this and is keen on partnering with SEARCA for a joint scholarship project.

WorldVeg is an international research and development institute committed to alleviate poverty and malnutrition by increasing the production and consumption of nutritious and health-promoting vegetables. Its mission is to "realize the potential of vegetables for healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods."