MUÑOZ CITY, Nueva Ecija: With the onset of the economic integration of South East Asian nations, a regional non-profit research and training center is eyeing a program to improve the capacity and global competitiveness of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) here.
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said the program to improve the PCC is expected to make the local livestock sector compete in a liberalized trade environment, particularly the Asean Economic Community 2015 (AEC 2015).
“The general objective of the program is to capacitate PCC for it to address the requirements of the livestock sector and enhance its full potential as a major player in the region [and the world]considering AEC 2015 and greater globalization,” SEARCA said in a statement.
Specifically, SEARCA said the program aims to customize and implement an Overseas Comparative Study Mission that will focus on technology sharing, policy support and reforms, and breed development aligned with efforts on livestock research and biotechnology.
The center said the program will implement an international expert exchange program on areas related to DNA-based biotechniques on genetic evaluation, disease detection and biosafety, breed development, social and policy, and human resource development.
The PCC operates as an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao or native buffalo as a source of milk and meat as well as draft animal power and hide to benefit the rural farmers.
In 2008, the PCC was given an additional task as the National Lead Agency for Livestock Biotechnology Research and Development.
“The program would focus on enhancing the competitiveness of the livestock sector [especially on ruminants and smallholders]against the background of inclusive growth and the AEC 2015,” SEARCA said.
Overall, SEARCA said the Overseas Comparative Studies will adopt learning approaches and methods such as knowledge levelling and acquisition; field observation and reflection; and integration and action planning.
With these, it said participants are expected to come up with an action plan for review and deliberation in coming up with more concrete and sustainable genetic evaluation, disease detection and biosafety, breed development, social and policy, and human resource development activities for the Philippine livestock sector.
“There is a need for an in-depth understanding of the livestock sector to be able to draw policy implications and recommendations and develop strategic and policy framework on how to push the livestock industry’s competitiveness,” SEARCA said.