The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) have renewed their partnership to further collaborate and address challenges, particularly leadership development, in the country’s rice sector.
SEARCA is keen to contribute in addressing regional and global challenges, elevating agricultural families' quality of life. The Center will do so by enabling them to access new and innovative financial services; to adopt new, sustainable, resilient production technologies and systems; to integrate with modern postharvest and logistics systems, and to gain access to and operate in modern networks and markets.
Meanwhile, PhilRice is mandated to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. Through its R&D work in its central and branch stations, PhilRice aims to improve the competitiveness of the Filipino rice farmer and the Philippine rice industry and transform it to be more profitable, resilient, and sustainable through responsive, balanced, environmentally sound and partnership-based research, development, and extension.
Under the three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on 20 January 2020, SEARCA and PhilRice commit to collaborate on a number of activities including joint research, capacity building activities, and knowledge and information exchange.
Signatories to the agreement were Dr. John C. de Leon, PhilRice Executive Director, and Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director.
The signing ceremony was held after Dr. Gregorio’s presentation of SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan in a seminar titled “2020: A Clear AgriVision for Tomorrow.”
“SEARCA wants to build transformational leadership,” Dr. Gregorio said.
He explained that “in transforming our key partners, they will become the movers in transforming the farmers and the agricultural sector.”
Dr. De Leon said PhilRice and SEARCA “shall work together with other partners like DOST and PCAARRD on building more leaders for R&D institutions ready to face the new challenges in rice-based farm productivity.”
The seminar was attended by PhilRice executives and staff as well as students of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU).
Past SEARCA-PhilRice collaborations include research on improving the agricultural insurance program to enhance resilience to climate change; on estimating the demand elasticities of rice in the Philippines; on nature, sources, and causes of productivity growth in Philippine agriculture; on assessment of Gulayan ng Masa Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA); and on value chain analysis of corn in the Philippines and benchmarking with other corn-producing countries.
SEARCA and PhilRice also jointly published a 12-volume monograph series that captured the findings of their collaborative project on “Productivity Growth in Philippine Agriculture” conducted with the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research. The project analyzed the productivity growth in Philippine agriculture by measuring and disaggregating the sources of said growth over time using analytical approaches appropriate to Philippine conditions. It also identified policy and investment levers that could serve as basis for formulating strategies to promote agricultural growth in the country. The results and recommendations of this research may also be used in other countries of Southeast Asia, possibly contributing to agricultural and rural development in the region.