Maejo University (MJU) is hosting the 8th UC Graduate Forum jointly organized with the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC), for which the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) serves as secretariat.
Held on 18–19 May 2023 in the Furama Chiang Mai Hotel, the 8th UC Graduate Forum is themed “Future of Agriculture Sustainability: Organic Intelligent Agriculture.”
Dr. Weerapon Thongma, MJU president and a SEARCA alumnus, thanked UC for accepting MJU as a new member and enabling MJU to host the graduate forum.
A total of 54 research papers will be presented during the plenary and parallel sessions on four subthemes, namely, Smart Agriculture Technologies: Precision agriculture, vertical farming, and innovative agri-products; Sustainable Agricultural Management: Biotechnology, agroforestry, agro-tourism, community-based tourism; Organic Intelligent Agriculture: A way towards ancient farming practices; and Digital Agro-Economy: BCG model, digital economics, and farm management.
The 8th UC Graduate Forum will explore ways to improve agricultural production, particularly through the utilization of smart farming techniques.
Having convened at least 70 researchers, experts, practitioners, policymakers, and students from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan, the graduate forum will facilitate the exchange of ideas, discuss cutting-edge advancements, and develop strategies to overcome the challenges facing food and agriculture systems.
Given the range of topics covered, the forum is also expected to enhance the participants’ skills and knowledge on adapting to a changing environment and addressing environmental concerns.
During the opening program, Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, SEARCA senior program head for Education and Collective Learning Department, gave an overview of SEARCA's work and its role in the UC as well as the current membership, programs, and activities of the Consortium.
Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, congratulated MJU for successfully organizing the graduate forum.
He noted how the graduate forum had become a regular UC activity, just like the UC Faculty Forum, which has gained traction and has been the hatching ground for new joint projects.
“The 8th UC Graduate Forum promises to be a platform for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation in the area of agriculture sustainability,” Dr. Gregorio affirmed.
Dr. Weerapon reiterated the significance of the forum’s theme, given that humans consume agricultural products daily. He emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of agricultural products, integrating innovation “in the local wisdom” of communities, and ensuring that new technologies and innovations are affordable to local people.
As he declared the forum open, Dr. Weerapon reminded the participants of their responsibility to serve society and contribute to the greater good and positive change.