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SEARCA, DEBESMSCAT host inaugural IRODEO confab


MASBATE CITY — The Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) co-hosted the very first International Research Opportunities, Developments, and Extension Outcomes (IRODEO) Conference held on10-12 April 2024 at the Masbate Coliseum.

IRODEO is a nod to Masbate’s famous rodeo festival and coincided with the annual horsemanship event.

The inaugural edition of this international event adopts the theme “Bridging Horizons: Integrating Knowledge for Regenerative Futures,” highlighting a forward-looking approach to global challenges. Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA Center Director, was the first plenary speaker, thus setting the tone for discussions on sustainable development and innovation.

Gregorio underscored the pivotal role of partnership and collaborative relationships in accelerating agricultural transformation. Emphasizing the need for strategic alliances among academe, industry, and government (AIG), he highlighted their collective potential to effectively address the challenges confronting the agriculture sector.

“SEARCA puts a premium on strengthening AIG interconnectivity,” Gregorio emphasized.

“Most of our research and capacity-building initiatives are in collaboration with like-minded institutions and networks,” he said.

Gregorio explained that as a partner, SEARCA offers access to top-notch professional expertise and technical services in agriculture and rural development from academic and governmental entities across Southeast Asia.

He introduced SEARCA’s joint scholarship projects with institutions like the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Agropolis Fondation, Tokyo University of Agriculture (NODAI), Universiti Putra Malaysia, Sejong University, National Taiwan University, and the Philippine Carabao Center. He also discussed the SEARCA-established Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC).

Furthermore, Gregorio shared how the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-funded, SEARCA-implemented project Leveling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) capacitated the country’s universities in agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources to make them more competitive.

Gregorio also talked about SEARCA’s leadership of the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture’s learning alliance working group, which supports research on agriculture and sustainable development, fostering market-driven solutions to uplift smallholder livelihoods.

In terms of innovation, Gregorio said SEARCA plans to create a carbon farming consortium to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost rice farmers’ incomes. Meanwhile, the SEARCA Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions (GRAINS) promotes knowledge transfer and technology adoption in agriculture. Additionally, he noted the collaborative efforts in conferences, seminars, and publications.

Notably, SEARCA Senior Fellow Dr. Eing-Ming Wu, a visiting professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), was also a plenary speaker. He tackled advancing smart public governance across services, infrastructure, people, and financial management.

SEARCA also curated an institutional exhibit at the conference, spotlighting publications on smart agriculture, coastal resources management, environmental studies, gender and development, alongside informative materials detailing its programs and services.

Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture