SEARCA leads in workshop on carbon farming

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Agriculture, including rice farming, emits greenhouse gases (GHG) that contributes to global warming. To provide information on the available platforms on carbon emission and carbon farming, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) conducted the second installment of the training-workshop on Carbon Wise Rice-based Farming.

It was in collaboration with Newfields Consulting Ltd. (NFC) and Macon Ltd., and was held at SEARCA headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, on November 21 and 22, said SEARCA's Kim Louisse Patagnan and Ma. Christina Corales.

The training-workshop 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.

The activity provided an in-depth discussion on the importance of the available platforms for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon emissions.

It introduced the Carbon Wise Rice Information Management System (CWRIMS), a web-based application that allows farm-level data collection of carbon emissions.

In their messages, SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio and NFC Managing Director Dr. Eero Nissila emphasized the significance of carbon credits and green funds, highlighting the Southeast Asian initiatives advocating carbon farming practices.

They also highlighted 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 co-op systems and consolidation of farms to increase access to financing, processing, marketing resources, technologies, and training.

He also introduced the Carbon Wise Information Management System, a general platform for managing various carbon emission data applications.

The system aims to streamline data collection, facilitating the transition to decarbonization, enhancing profitability and aligning with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Atty. Eric Reynoso, program head of SEARCA's Emerging Innovation for Growth Department, presented the center's current initiatives on carbon emission measurement and reduction.

These include implementing a program on carbon farming as one of the nature-based solutions to reduce GHG emissions in agriculture.

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

Reynoso also shared the Carbon Footprint Project of SEARCA, which intends to measure the Center's baseline carbon footprint and develop a carbon footprint calculator to estimate the carbon footprint for succeeding years.

Macon Ltd. CEO Mikko Ahokas and Sanna Taskila discussed the transformative potential of bio- and circular economy in community development.

They emphasized its significant contribution to environmental sustainability, economic growth and innovation, social benefits, and cultural integration.

They also 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.

Ten best practices of municipalities were presented, showcasing notable accomplishments, such as emission reduction, heightened energy efficiency, and positive community impacts.

Nikki Carumba, senior software engineer at NFC, introduced the CWRIMS, a web-based application developed by NFC. She presented its advantages in terms of MRV.

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

Dr. Nur Azura Binti Adam, deputy director for programs, reiterated the crucial significance of collaboration among local government units, the academic community, and the private sector.

Nur announced the possibility of organizing the third training-workshop in 2024 to present the improved version of CWRIMS and explore the potential of implementing the app in field trials.