The 2023 EU AgriResearch Conference, sponsored by the European Union Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development was conducted on May 31-June 2, 2023 at the Square Brussels Convention Center, Brussels, Belgium. Anchored on the theme “Knowledge, innovation and skills for sustainable horizons”, it was participated by over 500 policy makers, scientists, researchers, farmers, industry and rural communities from various parts of the world and tackled the challenges faced by agriculture, forestry and rural development.
The plenary session provided participants an overview of the global research and innovation agenda related to farming, forestry, and rural communities. Likewise, conference participants were provided platform for open discussions and engaged in identifying research and innovation priorities in the eight break-out sessions which focused on the following topics: 1) natural resources including mission soil 2) agrobiodiversity for healthy cropping systems 3) sustainable livestock systems 4) Sustainable management for multifunctional forests 5) Digital and data technologies 6) Rural opportunities 7) Tools and skills and 8) Behavioral and social sciences. With the support of the Flemish Rural Network, the conference also included a series of field visits on June 2 to engage and show participants innovative research and development projects.
The participation of Dr. Ramona Isabel S. Ramirez, Vice President for Research and Innovation and OIC, Director for Research and Prof. Ma. Teresa B. Lirag, Unit Head, Technology Assessment and Information Management Unit of the Research Services Division were confirmed after a cursory evaluation of their research experiences and background considering the limited slots given to global south attendees.
Both faculty are members of the team of researchers with research collaboration in Ghent University, Belgium which is externally-funded by VLIR-UOS, Belgium on research project titled “Strengthening Entrepreneurial and Networking Capacity of Cocoa Farming and Processing Households in Bicol Region, Philippines”. After the conference, this provided them opportunity to grant the invitation and coordinate with their research partners headed by Dr. Hans de Steur in Ghent University and plan out future research undertakings with them.
(Report & photos from the OVPRI)