JIRCAS, in collaboration with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) , an agency under the Department of Agriculture, Philippines, has been conducting a series of studies in Negros Island since 2016, with the aim of developing adequate nitrogen fertilizer application methods for sugarcane cultivation in the country by adjusting the timing and application rate to fertilizer demand. The outcomes are expected to increase farmers’ incomes and reduce adverse environmental impacts such as ground water pollution and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, thereby contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On February 11 & 12, 2019, the SRA organized the “Sugarcane Stakeholders’ Summit” in Quezon City, attended by more than 200 stakeholders in the sugarcane industry from all over the Philippines. In the presence of Mr. Segfredo R. Serrano, undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, Dr. Satoshi Tobita, program director of the Environment and Natural Resource Program at JIRCAS, made a short speech in the opening session of the summit. Dr. Tobita introduced the current achievements of the collaborative research between JIRCAS and SRA, and mentioned the importance of disseminating the environment-friendly fertilizer application methods that have been developed to sugarcane farmers in the Philippines. After the speech, Dr. Tobita and Mr. Hermenegildo R. Serafica, administrator of SRA, signed a new Joint Research Agreement (JRA) extending the collaboration for another two years (until March 2021). The new JRA will expand coverage of the developed fertilizer application methods to other sugarcane regions in the Philippines and monitor the effects of the technology (e.g., the quality of underground water) on the regional environment.
It has been widely recognized that sugarcane cultivation in the Philippines needs to increase productivity and introduce sustainable production systems. For this reason, JIRCAS’s collaborative research with SRA has been highly appreciated by the Philippine government.
After signing the new JRA, Dr. Tobita, on behalf of JIRCAS, received a certificate of appreciation in recognition for outstanding contribution to the Philippine sugarcane industry through development of sustainable sugarcane farming technologies, particularly in relation to nitrogen leaching and crop modeling.
In addition to the JRA signing ceremony, this important summit meeting also provided JIRCAS an opportunity to introduce to the attendees its research activities in the Philippines under the JIRCAS research project titled “Development of Sustainable Resources Management Systems in the Water-Vulnerable Areas in Asia and the Pacific Islands". By strengthening its collaboration with SRA and other organizations in the Philippines, JIRCAS also hopes to further advance its research activities and maximize the project outcomes.