Tokyo University of Agriculture (TUA) and SEARCA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on 23 February 2010 to collaborate in providing graduate scholarships to Southeast Asians.
Dr. Kanju Ohsawa (left), TUA President, and Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, shake hands after the MOA signing held on 23 February 2010 at SEARCA, Los Banos, Laguna.
The collaborative undertaking, called "TUA-SEARCA Scholarship for Dissertation Doctorate Program," allows a Southeast Asian scholar to be conferred a doctorate from TUA upon satisfying the academic requirements for doctorate dissertation work. Initially, the program will have one scholar for its first three years (2010-2013) of implementation.
Two SEARCA scholars -- one Indonesian and one Filipino, made their research findings known to the public through separate Special Seminars of the Agriculture and Development Seminar Series (ADSS) held at SEARCA last February 5 and 11, 2010.
(From L to R): Mr. Agus Setiadi and Mr. Eriberto Salang, both SEARCA scholars, presented their research findings in the ADSS earlier this month.
Mr. Agus Setiadi, SEARCA PhD scholar talked about spatial market integration of cattle in Central Java, Indonesia. He is a lecturer at the Department of Forest Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Sumatera Utara in Indonesia. He just finished his PhD in Agricultural Economics at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines.
He explained that spatial market integration refers to the co-movement of commodity prices in spatially separated markets. Indonesia used to be a big importer of cattle until its government imposed the meat self-sufficiency program in 2004. As such, results of the study can guide policymakers on developing possible strategic directions to enhance beef market integration. Time series data on beef importation for the period of 1990 to 2007 were used for trend analysis.
Through various statistical methods (e.g., t-test, regression analysis, multivariate analysis, etc.), it was found that price transmission at the retail level from one market to another was symmetric. The presence of good road networks in regional markets at Central Java helps facilitate price transmission process. Findings also indicated that cattle population increased after the implementation of the meat self-sufficiency program. Likewise, total and average per capita beef consumption increased. The study recommends further strengthening of the meat self-sufficiency program as well as enhancing technical support to improve cattle farm productivity.
On the other hand, Mr. Eriberto Salang, SEARCA PhD research scholar and associate professor at the College of Agriculture, Western Mindanao State University in the Philippines, discussed soil carbon sequestration. He said that although climate change is a hot issue, there is little understanding of the role that soil processes play in the global carbon cycle. Adhering to the principle that the soil is considered as the largest pool of carbon, this study investigated the relationships of tillage systems and vegetation types on soil carbon sequestration in Faraon and Adtuyon soil series.
His study revealed that soil capacity to sequester organic carbon is dependent mainly on soil type, soil pH, tillage systems, and vegetation type imposed by agricultural practices. Mr. Salang explained that Adtuyon soils are more able to sequester carbon dioxide than Faraon soils because the former is highly acidic which allows less microbial decomposition of organic materials. Its lighter color also resulted to less heat absorption due to greater albedo (reflection coefficient). Neutral pH and dark colored soils that may absorb more heat, as in Faraon soils, favor the rapid rate of microbial decomposition, thereby releasing more sequestered soil carbon, he concluded.
In terms of tillage systems, findings showed that no-tillage had the highest carbon sequestration due mainly to its high bulk density. He pointed out that tillage favors the rapid decomposition rate of organic materials by allowing easy movement of air and water in soil. These materials then become a source of organic carbon.
Graduate scholarship is one of SEARCA’s core programs. It aims to ensure the responsiveness of Southeast Asia's agricultural scientists and professionals to global sustainable development issues. The program provides support for advanced studies leading to the MS and PhD degrees in agriculture, forestry, and related fields.
Leveraging on the spirit of cooperation and having in mind the remaining five years of the Education for All (EFA) Movement, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Council supported the promotion of early childhood care and other initiatives to guarantee opportunities for quality education in the region during its 45th Annual Conference that was hosted by the Philippines at the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu, the Philippines on 26-29 January 2010.
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).