SEARCA, Taiwan agencies collaborate on agri R&D

  • 18 February 2018

Source: The Philippine Star
18 Feb 2018

Philippine governmenthosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and Taiwan will collaborate in research, graduate education and institutional development, and knowledge management initiatives.

The Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA) National Taiwan University (NTU), and the Taiwanbased Food and Fertilizer Technology Center discussed with a visiting high-level delegation from SEARCA led by Dr. Gil Saguiguit, Jr. areas of common interest and priority concerns that will be the basis for collaborations.

SEARCA is mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development in the Philippines and other ASEAN countries plus Timor-Leste through its core programs on graduate education and institutional development, research, and knowledge management.

On the other hand, COA is the authority on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, animal husbandry, and food affairs in Taiwan while NTU is the most prestigious university in the country with Taiwan President Tsai IngWen among its alumni.

SEARCA's visit to these major agriculture-focused institutions in Taiwan was on the heels of separate visits of NTU and COA officials to the Center in 2017 as they sought to renew ties with SEARCA in light of the Taiwanese government's New Southbound Policy which seeks new regional partners to enhance economic cooperation, talent exchange, and resource sharing between Taiwan and 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Australasia.

COA and NTU are pivoting their expertise and resources to benefit developing countries in the Southeast Asian region in support of the New Southbound Policy. As such, they are looking at SEARCA as a major partner and a window to the region.

In a planning workshop held last Feb. 8-9, NTU and SEARCA agreed to support scholarships for MS and PhD in biotechnology tenable at NTU's Institute of Biotechnology.

Moreover, both institutions are interested in jointly developing and offering training courses, possibly on sustainable ecological environment, bio-fertilizers, plant factories, and biotechnology regulations and policymaking, with a view to draw in COA and FFTC into the collaboration.

NTU also expressed interest to join the SEARCAinitiated Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC).

As the consortium secretariat, SEARCA will facilitate conveying such interest and invitation of NTU as observer in the next UC executive board meeting.

In the meantime, NTU will mull possible areas for joint research with SEARCA and the UC members. These may be in food and nutrition security and climate change adaptation and mitigation.