MMSU joins US school-based consortium

By Daniel P. Tapaoan, Jr.


The Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) has become a member of the Conservation Agriculture for Organic Agriculture (CA4OA) consortium that is led by the Kansas State University (KSU) in the United States. 


The international consortium envisions to establish a holistic innovative approach to enhance organic agriculture in the Philippines through conservation agriculture. This covers priority program areas in agricultural science, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability.  


Dr. Manny Reyes, research professor and coordinator of KSU’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL), said CA4OA will implement co-curricular programming, collaborative online international learning, trainings and workshops, virtual and in-person internships, student and faculty exchanges, visiting professor initiatives, and research collaborations.


MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis participated in the virtual signing of the memorandum of understanding with KSU’s Associate Provost Dr. Grant Chapman and SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio last August 24. 


The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and 13 other SUCs also joined the event as member-institutions (Caraga State University, Catanduanes State University, Central Luzon State University, Central Philippines State University, Davao del Sur State College, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Marinduque State College, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Pampanga State Agricultural University, Occidental Mindoro State College, Philippine Christian University, Romblon State University, and University of the Philippines - Los Baños). 


To attain the program areas, Reyes explained the consortium partners have to pursue six action items: training; SUCs consortium networking; engagement with K-12 schools; Open Systems Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing (OSAMM); business engagements with the private sector; and government by linking with local, regional and national government agencies.


Dr. Nathaniel Alibuyog, dean of MMSU College of Engineering and the University’s collaborator for the consortium, said MMSU and the other consortium partners are expected to provide project proposals to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which are aligned to any of the six CA4OA action items. 


Meanwhile, Dr. Agrupis said she is happy that MMSU is a member of the CA4OA and she looks forward for more fruitful collaborations with the partner-universities in line with the priority areas of the consortium.


Prior to this, the KSU has already linked with the 16 SUCs and the SEARCA through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with each agency. This collaboration got intensified through the Philippines-United States (PH-US) University Partnership Network event last September 2020. 


Since then, representatives of each institution, together with the OSAMM team, held several meetings to discuss the establishment of CA4OA.  


The CA4OA supports the RA 10068, an act providing for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines. (StratCom)