SEARCA hosts carbon farming workshop

THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) conducted a training workshop on carbon farming that provided an in-depth discussion on the importance of the available platforms for monitoring, reporting and verification in carbon emissions.

This is the second installment of the training workshop series on Carbon Wise Rice-based Farming held on November 21-22 at the SEARCA Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, in collaboration with Newfields Consulting Ltd. (NFC) and Macon Ltd.

The training was attended by 28 participants from the provincial and municipal agricultural offices of Laguna, faculty and researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Central Luzon State University and the private sector representatives.

Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said the training workshop, in particular, introduced the Carbon Wise Rice Information Management System (CWRIMS), a web-based application that allows farm-level data collection of carbon emissions.

Highlighting the Southeast Asian initiatives advocating carbon farming practices, Gregorio, along with Eero Nissila, SEARCA-NFC managing director, emphasized the significance of carbon credits and green funds, and heightened the importance of disseminating climate-smart agriculture technologies at the grassroots level.

In his presentation on the principles of carbon-wise farming systems, Nissila expounded on the potential of out-grower coop systems and consolidation of farms to increase access to financing, processing, marketing resources, technologies and training.

In introducing the CWRIMS, a general platform for managing various carbon emission data applications, he explained that the system aims to streamline data collection, facilitating the transition to decarbonization, enhancing profitability and aligning with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

During the event, SEARCA also presented its current initiatives on carbon emission measurement and reduction.

Eric Reynoso, SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department program head, said these include implementing a program on carbon farming as one of the nature-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

"The program is currently benchmarking policies and methodologies related to carbon farming in selected Southeast Asian countries," Reynoso said.

The project intends to measure the center's baseline carbon footprint and develop a carbon footprint calculator to estimate the carbon footprint for succeeding years, he said.

Macon Ltd. also presented the transformative potential of bio- and circular economy in community development, emphasizing significant contributions to environmental sustainability, economic growth and innovation, social benefits and cultural integration.

Chief Executive Officer Mikko Ahokas and Sanna Taskila, both of Macon Ltd., established an interlink between the two economies, encompassing standard measures for enhancing energy efficiency, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, implementing climate-related initiatives and exerting influence through urban planning, land use policies and support for renewable energy initiatives.

Gregorio noted that in showcasing notable accomplishments such as emission reduction, heightened energy efficiency and positive community impacts, there were success stories of municipalities employing practical approaches and exemplifying the 10 best practices presented.

Gregorio said the training workshop also included hands-on exercises that provided participants an opportunity for comprehensive interaction with the web application.

The SEARCA director said participants shared their individual experiences, feedback and suggestions on the web application's usability and functionality to enhance the web application.

Reiterating the crucial significance of collaboration among local government units, the academic community and the private sector, Nur Azura Binti Adam, SEARCA deputy director for programs, announced the possibility of organizing a third training workshop in March or April 2024.

Nur said the improved version of CWRIMS will be presented and explore the potential of implementing the app in field trials.