Cooperatives are designed to help improve the quality of life of its members. Over the years, Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) has lived up to this purpose. SIDC has been a model for good governance and it has continually proved that a group of people can initiate change and improve the lives of many.
Two Timorese DAAD-SEARCA scholars have been accepted to the UPLB Graduate School upon their completion of the six-month Academic Bridging Program at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in the first semester of School Year 2009/2010.
On-farm conservation has allowed what was once a neglected coconut plantation in Laguna (Luzon, Philippines) to become home to different fruits and nut species. The said technology is one of the most effective ways to conserve fruit species as gleaned from the experiences of Dr. Roberto Coronel, a retired University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) professor.
Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) was one of the first fruits intercropped with coconut in the RC Fruit Conservation Farm. (Source: www.worldisround.com)
On-farm or home garden conservation stemmed from men's acquired knowledge of domesticating useful plant species, selecting the best fruits, and propagating them by means of seeds or other non-seed propagation methods. With forest areas being lost to illegal logging and land conversion, on-farm conservation primarily serves as a duplicate repository of fruit germplasm collections maintained in research institutions (ex-situ conservation).
In 1986, Dr. Coronel acquired a coconut plantation that stands in a gently rolling terrain at the foot of a mountain. He then began to intercrop the area with rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) and lanzones (Lansium domesticum). This was the birth of what will be known today as the RC Fruit Conservation (RCFC) Farm in Calauan, Laguna. The name "RC" stands for the owner's initials.
Over the years, Dr. Coronel acquired different fruit and nut species and varieties from local sources and different tropical countries. He then planted these varieties in the farm. Dr. Coronel explained that since then, the farm's focus shifted from mere production to biodiversity conservation, promotion, and dissemination.
The four-hectare farm-garden showcases a unique cropping system to reduce typhoon damage. Moreover, the non-usage of inorganic pesticides and fertilizers makes the farm environment-friendly and a haven for other forms of biodiversity such as birds and small mammals. It also serves as a research and extension laboratory where students can study and observe various propagation methods used for specific crops.
At present, the Farm has collected and established 210 fruit and nut species representing 117 genera and 48 families. It also has a collection of 120 outstanding fruit varieties, most of which are officially registered with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA). Some indigenous fruits at RCFC Farm include: biasong (Citrus micrantha), lipot (Syzygiujm curranii), pili,(Canarium ovatum), and galo, (Anacolosa frutescens).
After almost 25 years of existence, the farm-garden continues to flourish. But the lifework of Dr. Coronel is far from reaching completion. In the future, he envisions the RCFC Farm to eventually become a part of national botanical garden.
(Ranell Martin M. Dedicatoria, KMD-SEARCA)
______ Report based on Agriculture and Development Seminar Series (ADSS) presentation of Dr. Roberto Coronel entitled "On-Farm Biodiversity Conservation: The Case of the RC Fruit Conservation Farm" held on 19 January 2010.
"Farm products especially food are essential to the survival and security of society. As such, farming should be treated like public utilities to keep commercial farmers economically healthy and reliable suppliers of raw materials and food at reasonable costs to industries and consumers."
Photo by Al Benavente
These were the salient points identified by Mr. Edward S. Tayengco during the SEARCA Agriculture and Development Series (ADSS) held January 12, 2010. Mr. Tayengco is the president of the E.S. Tayengco Development Options and Economic Research Services.
A total of 51 scholarships (48 MS and 3 PhD) are available starting first semester, school year 2010-2011 for junior and mid-level professional staff of the central and regional offices of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA).
Tokyo, Japan--The Executive Board of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) held its 22nd meeting at the Tokyo University of Agriculture (TUA) in Tokyo, Japan on 12-13 November 2009.
During the meeting, the following new collaborative projects were approved for implementation starting 2010: 1) The Dissertation Doctorate Program Scholarships for the University Consortium, two slots of which will be jointly funded by the TUA and the University Consortium, and one slot to be jointly funded by the TUA and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA); and 2) Research-based internship program of four University of British Columbia (UBC) students taking up the Master of Food Science and the Master of Food Resource Economics to be hosted in any of the University Consortium members.