International 'BioAgversity' conference held in Coron

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in partnership with the Regalo ng Kilit Foundation Inc. (RKFI) held a five-day First International Conference on School plus Home Garden cum Biodiversity Enhancement Enterprise (SHGBEE1) in Coron, Palawan on Tuesday, November 8.

Anchored on the theme "Restoring Biodiversity, Regenerating Agriculture and Building Businesses," the international conference which will end on Saturday, November 12, is for SEARCA and RKFI to share the commitment to achieving food and nutrition security, promoting sustainable agriculture, and restoring biodiversity or "BioAgversity."

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said more than 70 participants in the conference come from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the United States who are teachers and researchers from local schools, state universities and colleges and other higher education institutions.

Other participants include policymakers from local government units and other government agencies; partners from the business/private sector and nongovernment organizations both from the Philippines and from neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

Gregorio said SHGBEE1 aims to provide a platform for sharing experiences and best practices related to school and home gardens and its contributions to biodiversity enhancement and enterprise development in the Southeast Asian region.

Parallel sessions focus on thematic areas such as Paving the Way for Sustainable School and Home Gardens through Conservation Agriculture for Organic Agriculture or CA4OA; Promoting SHGBEE through experiential K to 12 Lessons; Harmonizing School Plus Home Garden Project or S+HGP with Biodiversity Enhancement, Community Enterprise, and Sustainable Livelihoods; and Fostering an Enabling Environment for SHGBEE through sound policy and NGO and private sector engagements.

Gregorio said the conference also features mobile workshops, showcasing facilities, and practices that aim to increase understanding and appreciation of the indispensability of biodiversity as well as the need to enhance and conserve it while sustainably producing food and supporting local tourism as alternative sources of income for households and the community.