By Estrella Z. Gallardo
MAARRDEC (MIMAROPA Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium) is now officially the 16th R&D consortia, which will focus on the region’s agriculture, aquatic and natural resources R&D concerns addressing specific needs such as in biodiversity, (e.g, Tamaraw conservation), and marine and freshwater ecosystems.
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) approved the creation of the MIMAROPA Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (MAARRDEC) during its 4th Special Directors’ Council meeting held last March 12, 2019.
Its establishment recognizes the unique socioeconomic and geographical features of its five provinces – Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (MIMAROPA) which remain largely agricultural and coastal. Its island provinces are either major or emerging tourism hubs with the potential to drive economic growth through agri-aqua and ecotourism development.
As an R&D network, it aims to address key challenges in the region’s AANR sector through strategic R&D, capability building and governance, R&D utilization, and policy analysis and advocacy; serve as a venue for joint planning, monitoring, evaluation, and sharing of resources through collaborative interventions among member agencies; and harmonize and synchronize R&D activities and efforts for broader impact to the region.
The new consortium has 11 member agencies with the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT) as its base agency. The member agencies include the Occidental Mindoro State College, Marinduque State College, Romblon State University, Palawan State University, Western Philippines University; and MiMaRoPa Regional Offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA), DOST, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and DA-Agricultural Training Institute.
MAARRDEC will be led by Dr. Levy B. Arago, Jr., MinSCAT President, as its first Regional R&D Coordinating Council Chair. Dr. Maria Concepcion L. Mores, MinSCAT Vice President for RDE, will serve as the Consortium Director. (MegaManila Science Journalists)