Rural agency benefits from Tokyo assistance

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The ambassador of Japan to the Philippines has commended the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) for its work in implementing research projects in cooperation with the Japan- ese government.

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Among the collaborative activities between Japanese institutions and Searca were research on food fermentation; production of salted cucumber and ginger for export to Japan; sustainability of upland vegetable farming in Laguna and Benguet; agro-industry man-agement survey in the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan; agro-industrial development planning focused on Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam; and an integrated rural development project for agrarian reform beneficiaries in Jalajala, Rizal.

“I have already briefed his excellency on Searca and Japan’s collaborations dating as far back as the 1970s. With this comes the hope that these collaborations will continue and even reach a higher plane,” Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr., Searca executive director, said, referring to Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe.

Saguiguit met with Urabe when the ambassador visited the Searca headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, on September 24.

“Japan has already contributed in no small measure to the agricultural development of the 11 member-countries in the region Searca is mandated to serve. For this assistance and support, we are sincerely grateful,” he added.

Searca also partnered with several Japanese universities in proving and implementing doc-torate scholarships and other academic grants for Southeast Asians. The Los Baños-based ins-titution has formal agreements with Tokyo University of Agri-culture, Nagoya University and Keio University.

Saguiguit also informed Urabe that Searca serves as the thematic node for agriculture of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN), a regional climate change knowledge network whose main convenor is the Institute of Global Environmental Strategies of Japan.

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