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The Philippines and Australia Collaborate to Boost Agricultural Research

The Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) pledged to continue collaborating to enhance agricultural research in the Philippines and the region.

In a statement, DOST-PCAARRD said it and ACIAR will continue to collaborate and explore new approaches to deliver agricultural research for development in the Philippines and the region for many years to come. The combined activities will help the Philippine government’s broader push to strengthen local scientific and technological leadership and competence in the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector.

Executive Director of the DOST-PCAARRD, greeted the Australian Deputy Ambassador and other embassy delegates, including an ACIAR representative. He said in his welcome note, “we are always honoured whenever the Embassy visits us because it shows how Australia values its partners; we, likewise, value such sentiment by continuously striving to conduct innovative research benefiting both countries.”

He stated that the Philippines and Australia’s bilateral relationship has been built on similar interests and principles, as well as strong people-to-people ties, over the years.

Furthermore, the Australian Deputy Ambassador expressed his admiration for the expanding collaboration between the ACIAR and the PCAARRD, while also expressing an interest in learning more about the DOST Council as an organisation. During his tenure, he reaffirmed his desire to continue to enhance bilateral ties between Australia and the Philippines.

In addition, the United States joined the Philippines in recognising the opening of the Crop Biotechnology Centre, which is housed in the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. The facility was supported with a P277 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s Public Law 480 programme, which aims to help developing countries handle food security challenges.

It is said that the facility’s launch will improve the country’s agricultural biotechnology research and development initiatives. Acting Agricultural Counsellor, on behalf of US Embassy in the Philippines, said, “this cutting-edge centre will be the hub for Philippine research and development on critical areas in agricultural biotechnology” and its “top-notch equipment, from genome sequencers and genotyping equipment to high-throughput DNA extractors, will provide [Filipino] scientists with the tools they need to get the job done.”

OpenGov Asia in an article reported that according to the DOST Secretary, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated over PHP208 million for the six virtual niche centres. In response to the government-led efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, we are establishing six new R&D centres in agriculture, livestock, and natural resources. These R&D centres will “open facilities, devise new strategies, and ramp up initiatives and efforts toward food resiliency in the new normal.

The DOST’s Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D (NICER) programme allows higher education institutions (HEIs) to significantly improve regional research by integrating development needs with existing R&D capabilities and resources.

The DOST provides institutional grants to HEIs in the regions through NICER for them to conduct high-quality research that will catalyse and promote regional development and industrial competitiveness.

Ultimately, the industry is working to enhance the country’s semiconductor and electronics manufacturing index by identifying customer needs, understanding suppliers’ baselines, developing relevant capabilities, matching industry supply and demand, and conducting periodic performance assessments. Furthermore, the industry suggests that the government maintain its scholarship programme for operators and technicians, improve the country’s business environment, conduct R&D capability development, and aggressively promote local industries and SMEs through investment missions abroad.

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