SMAARRDEC conducts Regional Symposium

October 30, 2020

Obrero, Davao City - The Southern Mindanao Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC) conducted its virtual Regional Symposium on Research Development and Extension Highlights (RSRDEH) on September 29, 2020.

For years, SMAARRDEC has been conducting the RSRDEH back-to-back with the Farmers and Fisherfolk Forum along with the Farms and Industry Encounters through Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) to celebrate the Consortium’s founding anniversary. These are occasions to disseminate newly generated R&D information and technology to  stakeholders.

This year’s theme for the Regional Symposium is “Sustaining Resilience in AANR R&D for Economic Development amidst National Health Crisis”. It expresses the consortium member institutions’ (CMIs) determination and dedication to remain steadfast in their undertakings in  the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources (AANR) sector.         

Despite the challenges, the event exhibits the act of solidarity, kindness and bayanihan among fellowmen, an optimistic note mentioned by Dr. Anthony C. Sales, RRDCC Chairperson and DOST 11 Regional Director, in his opening message. Dr. Sales said that this pandemic of the 21st century demonstrated the importance of research, development and innovation (RDI) efforts among key players such as the academe, national and local governments, private and industry sector, civil society, and media. He called them the pentahelix sectors of society.

DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora on the other hand shared, “I know that we will be able to overcome all the challenges brought about by the pandemic because basically we are working as one and that’s the strength of the Consortia. I think the challenge is quite big but we are much bigger than the challenge and we will be able to overcome all the difficulties.

SMARRDEC’s Consortium Director Dr. Gilbert A. Importante conveyed that the pandemic can be seen as an opportunity to open new doors for research. He said that it has even allowed people to see the critical role technology plays in human lives; to him, there are numerous possibilities for researchers in agriculture as they continue to perform crucial tasks in saving lives. Dr. Importante stressed that the pandemic provided a better understanding of how important the studies of natural resources are – reminding us to take care of and respect the environment and wildlife and give importance to farmers and fishermen who help put food on the table during difficult times.

He acknowledged the researchers and development workers for sharing the results of their studies in the AANR sector hoping that these S&T contributions lead to easing the lives of stakeholders. To end, he challenged everyone to operate as a system in combating the pandemic.

Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao, USeP President and RRDCC Vice Chairperson, likewise expressed her gratitude to all researchers, development workers, consortium partners and consortium secretariat who remain active despite the many limitations confronting them.

Symposium winners

A week before the symposium proper, the paper entries under Research Category, Development Category, Policy Brief Competition and Undergraduate Students Thesis Competition went through a preliminary screening conducted by a panel of evaluators consisting of Dr. Purisima G. Bayacag, Professorial Lecturer and former Consortium Director, Dr. Edna A. Anit, Director of Crops Research Division of DOST-PCAARRD, and Dr. Kenneth D. Barroga, Assistant Regional Director for R&D of DOST XI. The panel of evaluators chose the top 3 papers per category to qualify for virtual presentation proper.

There were 16 research papers which vied for Best Paper in the Research Category and five competing papers for the Development Category. The University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) won the Best Paper in the Research Category for “Development of Rosanna Banana Disease Surveillance System”, presented by Dr. Val A. Quimno. The University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP-Min) bagged the Best Paper for Development Category for “Giving Farmers Uwen Fananafedew: Enhancing Livelihood Opportunities in Conflict Vulnerable Areas in Mindanao through the Livelihood Improvement through Facilitated Extension (LIFE) Model”, presented by Prof. Anne Shangrila Y. Fuentes.   

As practiced, the winning papers in the R&D categories shall be the official entries to the National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NSAARRD) competition. 

This year, 6 entries competed for the Policy Brief Competition. The entry entitled “Healthy Nature for Healthy People”pitched by Mr. Michael G. Bacus of UP-Mindanao ranked first place in the competition. The policy brief entries shall be presented to the Regional Research, Development and Innovation Committee (RRDIC) and are expected to be endorsed to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for adoption in the region.

In its second year, the conduct of the Undergraduate Student Thesis Competition was participated by five SUCs. The winning entry was “In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of Three Weed Leachates for the Postharvest Control of Colletotrichum musae Penz. Causing Banana Anthracnose” of USeP, presented by Mr. Charlestone Von B. Mainit. The participation of the students from SUCs prove that the consortium could assert its purpose of encouraging and honing young minds to engage in R&D activities. This initiative is also the consortium’s means to transfer the vibrant R&D culture and practices to the next generation. SMAARRDEC indeed through this symposium has provided the venue for both young and seasoned regional researchers to highlight high-caliber R&D findings and outputs.