Crop Biotech Update

SEARCA BIC's Agri-biotech Boot Camp Puts the Spotlight on Youth in Agriculture

November 20, 2019
Participants of the Agri-biotech Boot Camp with NAST Academician, Dr. Ruben Villareal

Thirty-three students and teachers from seven provinces in the Philippines took part in the 4th Agri-biotech Boot Camp held on November 13-15, 2019 in Los Baños, Laguna. The three-day activity aims to spark renewed interest of the youth in agricultural sciences, most especially in the field of biotechnology.

The participants were exposed to hands-on learning experiences and had the opportunity to interact with the country's leading scientists and researchers. National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST) Academician, Dr. Ruben Villareal, presented the challenges faced by agriculture and how the youth can be part of the solution. He dispelled notions that agriculture is just farming and encouraged the group to explore the broad range of agriculture-related courses. SEARCA Director and also a NAST Academician, Dr. Glenn Gregorio, shared how he got involved in agriculture early on in his career and inspired the students to carry on with their studies with his three Ps -- perseverance, passion, and prayer.

This year's program also offered an expanded view on agriculture by focusing on new components such as agricultural entrepreneurship and science communication. Mr. Dax Olfindo, Founder of Dream Agri-tech Consultancy Services, discussed how they can be engaged in agriculture while earning from farming activities. Meanwhile, Asst. Prof. Elaine Llarena form the University of the Philippines Los Baños - College of Development Communication spoke about the importance of communication in the field of agriculture especially for the next generation of scientists and discussed different techniques on popularizing science for the public.

The participants likewise visited the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) where various climate scenarios were simulated under controlled environmental conditions to better understand the effects of climate change on plant growth. They also got to try their hands on DNA extraction using household materials, which was another highlight of the Boot Camp as it was the first time for most of the participants.

The boot camp is SEARCA BIC's build-up activity for the annual National Biotechnology Week. For more updates about biotech development in the Philippines, visit the SEARCA BIC website.

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