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Strengthening bonds through agricultural innovation: Australia’s Commission for Agricultural Research visits DOST-PCAARRD

Strengthening bonds through agricultural innovation: Australia’s Commission for Agricultural Research visits DOST-PCAARRD

In a landmark event that highlights the enduring partnership between the Philippines and Australia, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) recently welcomed the Australia Commission for International Agricultural Research for a historic meeting. 

First of its kind in the Philippines, the visit underscores the robust collaboration in agricultural research and development between the two nations.

DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director Reynaldo V. Ebora, Deputy Director for Administration, Resource Management and Support Services Melvin B. Carlos, and Deputy Director for Research and Development Juanito T. Batalon with the Commission and ACIAR team. (Image credit: PCMD, DOST-PCAARRD)

The Commission for International Agricultural Research, established under the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Act 1982, advises the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs on agricultural research program formulation, priority setting, and funding. The distinguished delegation, including Professor Wendy Umberger, Dr. Michelle Freeman, Professor Emeritus Lindsay Falvey, Ms. Lukina Lukin, Dr. Beth Woods, and Mr. Tony York was warmly received by DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director Reynaldo V. Ebora and other key officials. Although Chairperson Fiona Simson was unable to attend, the delegation’s presence still marked a significant milestone. 

Dr. Ebora, in his welcoming remarks, celebrated the vibrant and successful partnership between DOST-PCAARRD and ACIAR, which began with a Memorandum of Understanding in 1983. "This gathering represents a valuable opportunity to explore and strengthen our collaborative efforts in agricultural research and development," Dr. Ebora stated. He highlighted significant achievements from joint projects, including  cryo-preservation of seeds, reduction postharvest disease losses, livestock management improvements, and enhanced water resource management.

Professor Wendy Umberger, a prominent member of the delegation, expressed her admiration for the partnership stating, "You really are our top partner and the way we work together in the Philippines is often talked about as an exemplar within ACIAR’s global network." She underscored the strategic plan jointly developed by ACIAR and DOST-PCAARRD, which aims to leverage Australian expertise to support Philippine agricultural research initiatives.

DOST-PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Administration, Resource Management, and Support Services Melvin B. Carlos provided an in-depth overview of the DOST-PCAARRD-ACIAR partnership. He detailed numerous collaborative projects and capacity-building programs that have bolstered the Philippines' agricultural competitiveness and innovation over the past 41 years.

Concluding the program, DOST-PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development Juanito T. Batalon emphasized the partnership’s significant accomplishments. "Our combined efforts have already led to meaningful outcomes, but there is much more we can achieve. By pooling our resources, sharing our knowledge, and leveraging our collective experiences, we have the power to make a substantial impact on global food security and sustainability," he remarked.

The Commissioners and the DOST-PCAARRD participants during the courtesy visit. (Image credit: PCMD, DOST-PCAARRD)

The courtesy visit was not merely ceremonial but a reaffirmation of the shared commitment between the two nations to foster innovation and sustainability in agriculture. It showcased the successful collaboration and the mutual benefits, setting a benchmark for international partnerships in agricultural research.

As the Australian delegates departed, both sides reiterated their dedication to maintaining the momentum of their partnership. The enduring cooperation between DOST-PCAARRD and ACIAR continues to serve as a model for international collaborations. It proves that through respect, open communication, and mutual accountability, significant strides can be made toward a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future.

The DOST-PCAARRD’s Directors’ Council extended their gratitude and hospitality to the Australian delegates, anticipating future collaborative endeavors that will further enhance the agricultural research landscape in the region.