LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – SEARCA and the Food Security Center (FSC) of the University of Hohenheim in Germany concluded the 2019 FSC Summer School on 27 September 2019 with 19 students from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The theme of the recently held activity was "Transformative Changes in Agriculture and Food Systems" with modules on Precision Agriculture, Vertical and Urban Farming, and Edible Insects.
Module 1: Precision Agriculture was handled by Dr. José Paulo Molin, Associate Professor at University of São Paulo, Brazil from 9-13 September 2019 in SEARCA. After the lecture, an outfield post tour at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was conducted and individual reporting on relevant researches about precision agriculture served as the module’s conclusion.
Module 2: Vertical and Urban Farming was conducted at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on 16-20 September 2019 with Dr. Irineo C. Agulto, Professor 6 and former Dean of the College of Engineering and Engr. Christopher S. Pascual, Instructor at the College of Engineering, as Resource Persons. They highlighted the importance of re-engineering the agricultural environment through indoor and outdoor vertical farming systems for year-round production of high value crops. Engr. Pascual demonstrated how to set up a household type indoor vertical tower, transplant lettuce seedlings, and prepare the liquid nutrient solution. For the rest of the week, the students monitored the crop’s environmental parameters.
The students also participated in outfield post tours to Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), and the experimental stations in CLSU.
For the last week of the summer school, Ms. Marwa Shumo, Junior Researcher for EntoNUTRI: Development and implementation of insect-based products to enhance food and nutritional security in sub-Saharan Africa, discussed Edible Insects for Module 3. This last module, which ran from 23-27 September 2019, explored insects as an alternative source of subsistence and protein, its nutritional benefits, reasons for eating edible insects, Western perception of consuming insects, Entomophagy, history and culture of eating insects, and insect production systems for food and feed. As a closing activity, the students developed a business pitch to promote edible insects.
Besides the three modules and outfield post tours, the summer school attendees also participated in the Agriculture and Development Series Seminar (ADSS) organized by the Knowledge Management Department (KMD) of SEARCA. Dr. Reiner Doluschitz, Director of the Food Security Center (FSC) in Germany, talked about “ICTs in Agriculture and Agribusiness: Past Development, Current Status, Perspectives, and Development Needs”
The FSC Summer School is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under the Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation (EXCEED) program. For more information about FSC, visit https://fsc.uni-hohenheim.de/en.