SEARCA to govt: transform farmers into 'Agripreneurs'

BAGUIO CITY: An intergovernment treaty organization focusing on agriculture research has partnered with the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-ATI-CAR) in implementing the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded project for small farmers. Dr. Glenn Gregorio, director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), said they were working with partners such as ATI to make a difference in agriculture in Southeast Asia and the Philippines in particular. Gregorio was here during the 33rd anniversary celebration of the DA-ATI-CAR on January 30. The celebration's theme was "Vibrant Agriculture and Fishery Extension Toward Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita." In his keynote address titled "Climate Change and the 4th IR Readiness through Extension and Innovation on Farming Technologies," Gregorio said, "We don't just need a hero now, what we need are partners." He added that their key strategy in the next five years starting July 2020 is to transform the agriculture sector. Gregorio said SEARCA could do this by changing the farmers' mindset to that of "agripreneurs" through the use of technologies and engaging SEARCA's key partners, such as extension workers from ATI and local and national government leaders, in bridging science and technology to the farmers. "Agriculture must be treated as a business and that it must be market-centric. We need extension people to explain newly developed technologies, including upgraded breeds of crops, and to be catalysts in changing the farmers' mindset," he added. SEARCA, hosted by the Philippine government on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños is mandated to serve the agriculture and rural development needs of the 11 Southeast Asian countries.