SEARCA senior fellow presents carbon wise rice concept

A senior fellow of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) headquartered in the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) presented to SEARCA the concept of carbon wise rice.

Dr. Eero Nissila, Finland-based Newfields Consulting Ltd. (NCL) managing director and chairman, was recently in a meeting with SEARCA management at the SEARCA headquarters to present the said CWR concepT. NCL is a company driven and owned by international consultants specializing in crop production and crop improvement systems.

"Rice is the fastest-growing staple food in South Africa. It is also a cultural crop. Rice carbon footprint contributes to global GHG [greenhouse gas], methane and agricultural nitrous oxide emissions," Nissila said and highlighted the growing importance of rice and introduced three major structural changes which should happen in Southeast Asian agriculture.

A graduate of Doctor of Agriculture and Forestry (Plant Breeding) from the University of Helsinki in Finland, the SEARCA senior fellow said these changes are technology leap in mechanization and digitalization, farms reorganizing their operations, and evolving farm products from traditional to circular bioeconomy-based production of principal and by-products.

Nissila also presented the Farms-Communities-Co-ops-Hubs model, wherein carbon footprints of farms are measured at the community level.

"Carbon Wise Rice is produced with minimal emission from the soil, optimal use of fertilizers, proper water management, use of the most suitable varieties, and use of renewable energy," he said, adding that it is important to recognize that farming systems are at the frontline of carbon farming.

He added that it involves taking carbon from air and putting it back to the soil or recirculating the carbon.

Nissila is also an expert on business strategies, business models and product portfolio development in seed and breeding industry, and on directing research and development (R&D) and product production schemes for meeting the market needs.

SEARCA director Dr. Glenn Gregorio and senior fellows like Nissila provide guidance in the development of programs as well as technical inputs in project development and implementation related to center's thrusts.

He said they also assist in establishing linkages and negotiating proposals with potential donors and partners in Southeast Asia.

Highlighting what SEARCA has been doing in terms of the structural changes, Gregorio said they started working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to come up with a guide in promoting digital technologies for food and agriculture systems.

"We have developed a tractor and other technologies related to the conservation of agriculture," he said.

Joining the meeting with Nissila were Joselito Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration; Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, Senior Program Head, Education and Collective Learning Department; Dr. Pedcris Orencio, Program Head, Research and Thought Leadership Department; Dr. Romeo Labios, Operations Consultant for Partnerships; Beatrisa Martinez, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director; and Ma. Victoria Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs.