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The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) and Taiwan-based World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) formalized ties for institutional cooperation through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this past week at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay City.
The signatories were Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez Jr. on behalf of Searca as chairman of its governing board and Dr. Marco Wopereis, director general of WorldVeg. The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the International Conference on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems, which was cosponsored by Searca.
The Philippine government-hosted and Los Baños-based Searca is mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development through its core programs on graduate education and institutional development, research and development, and knowledge management. It serves the 10 Asean countries, including the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.
Meanwhile, WorldVeg, formerly known as Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC), is an international nonprofit R&D institute established in 1971 by seven countries, including the Philippines. Today, WorldVeg has regional bases in Africa, Asia and Oceania with 44 international scientists and 300 national scientists and support staff “dedicated to the mission of alleviating poverty and malnutrition through the increased production and consumption of nutritious, health-promoting vegetables.” Sanchez said, “The thread that binds us in this MOU is our common objective to push for a more nutrition-sensitive approach to agriculture and sustainable and diversified cropping systems.”