THE Department of Education (DepEd) has expressed support for the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture’s (Searca) advocacy to strengthen academe-industry-government interconnectivity for agricultural development.
This was reiterated during Searca’s investiture rites for Glenn Gregorio as the 11th Searca director presided by Education Secretary Leonor Briones on October 28 at the center’s headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.
Gregorio assumed office as Searca director in May and has since led the center in crafting its strategic plan for the next five years, from 2020 to 2025.
In her keynote address, Briones affirmed she supports the focus of Searca’s 11th Five-Year Plan on strengthening academe-industry-government interconnectivity, agricultural innovations, and market-driven agribusiness development in the Philippines and the rest of the Southeast Asian region “to modernize the agricultural sector, encourage the participation of smallholder farmers, and partner with development aid organizations.”
“And for us in the Department of Education, to promote agriculture by integrating it in basic education programs,” Briones said.
The newly installed Searca director said he envisions the center’s strategic role in pushing for inclusive innovation and academe-industry-government interconnectivity towards Agriculture 4.0, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Gregorio explained Searca commits to contribute and allocate resources for the achievement of SDG 2 or Zero Hunger, SDG 4 or Quality Education, SDG 9 or Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 13 or Climate Action, and SDG17 or Partnerships.
“With this, we would like to elevate the quality of life of agricultural families through sustainable and resilient livelihoods and access to modern networks and markets, and in doing so, Searca tangentially contributes to SDG 1- No Poverty, SDG 5 – Gender Equality, and SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production,” he said.
Gregorio also said that in order to do so, Searca will strategically and intentionally pursue policy, institutional, social and technological innovation by and with their partners over time.
“Searca will develop platforms that can deliver its strategic outcomes which are significantly better, bigger and smarter,” he said.
A distinguished rice scientist and academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines, Gregorio is also currently a professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He brings to Searca his wide experience from three decades of work with the International Rice Research Institute and later as the global lead of breeding programs of the East-West Seed Co. Inc.