UPLB grad student among 3 Asian best research presenters

GRADUATE students of three member-universities of the Southeast Asian University Consortiumn for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) awarded for their best research studies presented during the 7th UC Graduate Forum (UCGF) held on December 2 to 3 which was attended by 53 participants.

Among the 38 research studies presented by Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy students, the best presentation was awarded to graduate students of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), National Taiwan University (NTU) and Thailand's Maejo University (MjU).

Emmanuel Flores from UPLB's Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Economics and Management shared his study on the "Economic and Marketing Strategies for Small Island Communities in the Philippines: The Case for Sustainable Agriculture Amidst Climate Change."

He discussed his observations on the value chains of copra and fish, the major export products of Jomalig and Patnanungan in the Philippines wherein challenges identified include the difficulties in accessing livelihood capitals, unsustainable production practices, support services and market systems.

His study recommends the development of community-supported agriculture and agri-tourism, and product and market diversification, increasing farmers' income through value-added activities on traditional agricultural operations.

Marlen Trejo from MjU School of Renewable Energy shared her study on the development of fermentable sugars from fresh elephant ear plant weed for the manufacture of efficient bioethanol.

Her study used the elephant ear plant – a potentially dangerous weed considered an invasive species – a source of non-edible lignocellulosic biomass for bioethanol synthesis, which can be an effective feedstock plant for future bioethanol production.

Lastly, Kang Wu from NTU's Department of Animal Science and Technology presented his research on the Hepatoprotection of chicken-liver-hydrolysate based supplement or GBHP01TM via accelerating blood alcohol clearance and antioxidant/anti-inflammatory abilities under alcoholism.

His study transformed chicken livers, which are by-products of broiler slaughtering stream, into a nutraceutical ingredient through hydrolyzation.

His research further discovered that the chicken-liver hydrolysate or CLH based supplement can accelerate alcohol clearance in the body and lessen liver damage by enhancing antioxidative abilities and alcohol metabolism enzymes activities.

The UCGF is an annual event that aims to provide an opportunity for graduate students from UC-member institutions to share new knowledge, research ideas and experiences in an open platform.

Hosted by NTU, the virtual 7th UCGF anchored on the theme "Agricultural Adaptation Strategies for Coping with Climate Change" was also attended by select graduate students from member-universities NTU, IPB University, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPLB, Kasetsart University, Universitas Brawijaya and Tokyo University of Agriculture or Tokyo NODAI.

New affiliate members which include Visayas State University, Central Luzon State University, and MjU also sent their students to join the forum, which marks their first activity with the UC.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) was also in attendance as Secretariat to the consortium.

According to Searca Director Glenn Gregorio, the 7th UCGF delved into the strategies and technologies developed and implemented in agriculture to cope with climate change.

Gregorio said graduate students presented their research based on four sub-themes: "Making Crops Resilient to Climate Change," "Sustainable Agricultural Management: Economic and Marketing Strategies and Implications in the Era of Climate C," "Smart Agriculture," and "Challenge and Opportunities of Animal Products."

Dr. Huu-Sheng Lur, NTU Dean of College of Bioresources and Agriculture, welcomed the participants as host of the two-day forum on behalf of University President Prof. Dr. Chung-Ming Kuan.

Searca Deputy Director for Administration Joselito Florendo underscored the importance of agriculture as the backbone of many economies that are constantly threatened by the effects of climate change.

He noted that building adaptive strategies to cope with these threats will help build the sector's resilience toward food security and alleviating poverty.

As UC Secretariat, Florendo reinforces Searca's support to strengthen agricultural adaptation strategies for coping with climate change through responsive programs and services embodied in its 11th Five-Year Plan of Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation or ATTAIN.

In his keynote speech on having climate change ready agriculture, Gregorio highlighted the importance of sowing seeds of curiosity among the youth and re-thinking food security by supporting academe-industry-government models.

Also during the UCGF, the NTU College of Bioresources and Agriculture arranged a virtual tour of its facilities as well as its in-campus affiliations.

Expressing thanks to the participants, NTU Associate Dean Je-Ruei Liu led the discussion on issues brought by climate change in agricultural production, livestock production, and how resource-intensive farming systems and high input may not always result in productivity but lead to massive deforestation, water scarcity, soil degradation, and high levels of greenhouse gas emission which worsens the climate crisis.

Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, Education and Collective Learning Department senior program head and UC coordinator for Searca, reinforced the keynote speakers・ call to transform and innovate agricultural strategies to adapt to the changing climate and recognized the good things that have been shared and learned by the students.

Searca said the UCGF encourages transdisciplinary studies and promotes greater integration of research through a strategic partnership among the UC members; and strengthens the relationship between and among the UC members.