Provincial Government of Quezon and SEARCA tie up for coconut industry development

January  22, 2021- The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Provincial Government of Quezon (PG Quezon) have committed to develop a project on the coconut industry growth areas in Quezon Province through formal agreements signed last January 18.

“SEARCA is keen to help PG Quezon realize its vision of a market-driven coconut industry with empowered and resilient farmers, engaging in profitable coconut-based enterprises, contributing to inclusive and sustainable agricultural development,” SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio stressed. 

He added that this partnership between SEARCA and PG Quezon is an expansion of an alliance that was started in 1985, with a parallel objective of linking the farmers to modern networks and innovative markets.

To develop enterprises and the capabilities of Quezon farmers through agricultural innovation, Dr. Gregorio said PG Quezon and SEARCA have agreed to collaborate on product development, strengthening of market linkages, and capacity building of farmer organizations.

Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, SEARCA program head for Research and Thought Leadership, said these collaborative activities will be carried out using SEARCA’s agricultural and rural development (ARD) model.

Governor Danilo E. Suarez affirmed the value of the partnership between PG Quezon and SEARCA to establish an inclusive and sustainable ARD system in the province. He commended SEARCA’s aim to contribute to the country’s food and nutrition security and poverty reduction.

Dr Orencio emphasized that at the heart of SEARCA’s ARD model are participatory development approaches and sustainability strategies that strengthen farmer organizations while linking them with national and international organizations, academe, and local government units for technical and material support. These touchstones of the SEARCA ARD model are detailed in SEARCA’s “SEED: Scaling and Expanding for Effective Development” guidebook, which captures the lessons and results of piloting effective models of inclusive and sustainable ARD.

Furthermore, Dr. Orencio said SEARCA and PG Quezon will conduct a scoping of the coconut industry growth areas in the province together with the stakeholders to establish their project’s baseline.

Gov. Suarez expressed his intent to further solidify the status of Quezon province as a top producer of agriculture and fishery commodities and become known as the “food basket” in the region. He said this is where SEARCA can be of best assistance, with its knowledge and expertise on extensive research.

 Based on the information coming from Ms Leah Lyn D. Domingo of SEARCA 

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Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, stressed that the forum’s goal is to provide a platform for discussions on current pre- and post-disaster concerns on agricultural production that put smallholders at higher risks.

Los Baños, Laguna, 10 September 2019

France and SEARCA join hands to push for Phl agricultural resiliency

The Embassy of France in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) convened some 50 experts in a Forum on Reducing Disaster Risk towards a Resilient Agriculture Sector who were moved to sign a commitment statement to push for promoting cost-effective measures, policies and regulations, and transferable solutions to address economic, social, and political barriers towards resilient agricultural and rural communities.

Held last August 29-30 at SEARCA, the forum gathered members of the academe, farmer group leaders, municipal and provincial agriculturists, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management practitioners, national and local government officials, experts from international development agencies, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.

Philippines-France cooperation in research was encouraged by the participation of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Research Institution for Development (IRD), and GECO Ingénierie.

The forum focused on capturing the bigger picture of vulnerability that the agricultural sector faces as it critically looked into the robustness of current policies, adaptive capacity of institutions as well as actions and mechanisms that are crucial to reducing risks and shocks from natural disasters.

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, told the participants: “In our more than five decades of work in the agricultural sector of the region, SEARCA believes that the battle for climate change is either won or lost at the grassroots level where localized interventions play a big role.”

“That is why we are very happy that this forum includes representatives from local government units (LGUs) as well as farmer organizations who are at the forefront of efforts to build the resiliency of the agriculture sector against these disasters,” he added.

A total of 16 papers were presented in five sessions. Each session was capped by panel discussions, which further identified pragmatic and strategic areas for cooperation between and among the panelists and the participants. Topics discussed revolved on the responsiveness of DRR programs and challenges in its implementation at the local level; opportunities that development organizations can offer to agriculture and rural communities towards building resilience; innovative practices and programs to ensure sustainability of interventions; and existing modalities and mechanisms for support and assistance to target beneficiaries and communities in the agriculture sector.

NGO representatives and farmer group leaders shared their experiences on the ground as they narrated the realities of some agricultural communities in the country.

Several workshop sessions were conducted, wherein each group outlined and presented their analysis on the existing risks and current strategies in place, gaps between available resources and needs, capacity building resources or support systems, and the facilitating and limiting factors towards improving action agenda for achieving sustainability of disaster-resilient agricultural sector.

At the end of the forum, the participants made personal pledges in a unified commitment to heed the call to action and way forward towards building and sustaining disaster resilience in agricultural and rural communities in the Philippines.

Mr. Jean-Jacques Forte, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs of the French Embassy in the Philippines, affirmed the French Embassy and SEARCA’s shared commitment to the long-term objective of strengthening post-disaster recovery programs for agricultural communities.

He also expressed high hopes that the forum will redound to more targeted areas of common interests and interventions for cooperation projects in the agricultural sector.


Mr. Jean-Jacques Forte, Cultural and Cooperation Counselor of the Embassy of France in the Philippines, talked about the France-Philippines common agenda of developing viable disaster risk reduction and management mechanism in the agricultural sector.
Group facilitators led thorough discussions during the workshops.

Davao City, 18 September 2019


Embracing change, transforming lives: SEARCA at the forefront of Agriculture 4.0

“The reality of digitalizing agriculture is won or lost at the farmer level, where applicability and sustainability have to be tested,” Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), told more than 350 scientists, researchers, and educators at the opening of the 25th Federation of Crop Science Societies of the Philippines (FCSSP) and the 1st Federation of Plant Science Association of the Philippines (FPSAP) Scientific Conference in Davao City last September 17.

FPSAP is composed of the Crop Science Society of the Philippines, the Philippine Seed Industry Association Inc., PhilFruits Association Inc., and the Philippine Association of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology.

Themed “Converging Sustainability and Precision to Create Digital Plant Science Innovations,” the conference is convened at the Apo View Hotel and will run up to September 21.

“At SEARCA, we are working toward elevating the quality of life of farmers by improving their access to  new, sustainable, resilient production technologies and systems and help them integrate with modern postharvest and logistics systems,” Dr. Gregorio said.

He explained the importance of using technology to achieve Agriculture 4.0, but pointed out that there is resistance to adapt to change by adopting modern technologies because of perceived risks associated with them.

“We have to embrace these changes to actually change the lives of farmers. Let’s give these technologies and changes a chance so that we can have a better chance of changing the current state of our farmers,” Dr. Gregorio said.

The theme of the conference highlights this need. “Advances in plant science through the form of biotechnology or agro-engineering technology can create various impacts in our society and environment and thus should incorporate sustainable designs for future generations,” FPSAP President Ryan Rodrigo P. Tayobong said.

“Plant science and agriculture must be able to cope with how fast new knowledge is generated and technologies change,” Dr. Gregorio affirmed.

Speaking from more than 30 years of experience as crop scientist and research manager in international and private institutions, he urged the conference participants: We must be innovative to change for a purpose.

In the next five years, he said SEARCA will focus its efforts to facilitate interconnectedness among the academe, industry, and government in order to contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly on quality education; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; and partnerships for the SDGs, among others.

Dr. Gregorio concludes with a challenge to begin innovative approaches in transforming the agricultural sector: “We have to make agriculture attractive and this begins with changing the mindset of farmers from being producers to agripreneurs and in having a holistic approach to the agricultural value chain.”

The conference is jointly organized by FPSAP with the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) and Southern Mindanao Agriculture Aquatic and Resource Research Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC). It is co-sponsored by SEARCA, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD); Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); Corteva Agriscience; Monsanto Philippines-Bayer Crop Science; and CropLife Philippines.