Four kilometres away from Baguio City is Benguet State University (BSU). BSU is one of the premiere state universities in the Philippines working on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a mechanism that increases agricultural productivity and incomes by building the resilience and capacity of agricultural and food systems amidst climate change.
Prof. Carlito P. Laurean, Ph.D., director of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Center (CSAC), recognizes the need to develop strategies and research agenda that will enable local farmers adapt to climate change. “Marami sa kanila ang problema ay tungkol sa climate pero hindi nila marelate na climate change pala iyon”, (Most of their problems are climate related, but they didn’t recognize that it is already effects of climate change) Prof. Laurean added. Conducting a vulnerability assessment (VA) is the first step in understanding the impending problems of local farmers. VA serves as the backbone of the research and implementation of CSA projects in their study areas. Prof. Laurean and his team’s work on CSA reckon great bearing on the municipalities and barangays they work with.
Prof. Laurean was our delegated counterpart in an exploratory meeting on how to further collaborate on work areas that our offices can complement one another.
BSU is already well connected with LGUs in the region especially in the Province of Benguet, which resulted from their research engagements with highland farming communities. We hit it off right away, spending a good hour just sharing perspectives from different backgrounds– practice and policy.
Discussions with Prof. Laurean and his team centred on the possibility of a BSU-iCSC collaboration in integrating research with policy movements that can transform science into action such as in operationalizing the People’s Survival Fund .
The immediate output of this engagement is a memorandum of understanding, a piece of paper that we believe will lead to bigger things in the future. Prof. Laurean believes this kind of partnership is what they are very much welcome to engage with; he is even willing to share a working station in the university (pretty cool).
I guess we’ve won their hearts as they have won ours. Our engagement with BSU will be the baseline of our future collaborations with other academic institutions.
State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and other academic institutions can be seen as the easily accessible think tanks for climate change related initiatives across the country. One thing’s for sure, we’ve got the ball rolling and we intend to sustain it.