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Searca explores bamboo program in Laguna

SEEKING potential partnerships on their bamboo program, a delegation from Laguna University (LU) recently visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca).

Colegio Gascon, LU officer in charge president, said that the university, which contributes to the Laguna Bamboo Council as part of its technical working group, is «working on free certificate programs on bamboo technology.»

Helen Grace Centeno, LU's focal person for bamboo exploration initiatives, highlighted the bamboo program's potential and added that all bamboo species in Laguna are already utilized in the textile industry.

Meanwhile, Glenn Gregorio, Searca's Center director who provided the LU delegation with an overview of Searca's mandate and core programs, encouraged the LU delegation to not limit their scope to Laguna but to find other suitable areas to plant bamboo.

Aside from bamboo plantations, he recommended establishing «a bamboo germplasm collection and conservation facility to maintain the existing bamboo species and develop new ones if needed.»

Nur Azura Adam, Searca's deputy director for programs, emphasized the importance of building strong expertise and a foundation before seeking partnerships which Gregorio affirmed.

Gregorio suggested the following strategies to make LU's program visible and relevant: tapping an ambassador, establishing a bamboo park, organizing bamboo-focused contests, publishing coffee table books showcasing bamboo species and developing unique bamboo products not limited to textiles.


He also suggested potential partners with whom LU could collaborate and asked the LU delegation to prepare a proposal how Searca can support its programs.

Established in 2006, LU is a public university committed to providing access to education to the youth of Laguna province. Monette Bato, vice president for planning and finance, and Marie Joy Elomina, director for the Research and Development Center, were also part of its delegation to Searca.

Joining Gregorio in welcoming the Laguna University visitors were Nur and Beatrisa Martinez, Office of the Director executive coordinator.