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WATCH: Helping farmers through agricultural biotechnology

Raisa Serafica
WATCH: Helping farmers through agricultural biotechnology
The UP Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society strives to uphold awareness on the ways, means, and science behind agricultural biotechnology to help students and farmers alike

MANILA, Philippines – How can agricultural biotechnology help and serve farmers and students alike?

These students from the University of the Philippines Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society or UP GRAINS found a way.

“We think it’s important to promote biotechnology because it’s one of the most advanced fields of science and we think it is also neglected in the Philippines,” founding Vice-President of UP Grains Kohlin Lallaban said.

UP GRAINS, which was formed in 2014 in UP Los Baños, is an academic organization that promotes agricultural biotechnology. The group helps farmers make a living. Its programs allow students from Batangas, Laguna, and Camarines Norte provinces learn about techniques in biotechnology and how they can apply these to their research.

They bring experts and professors from different universities in Laguna and Batangas to communities, teaching farmers how to grow their crops better.

The student organization has touched lives through its programs which include academic tutorials (Chem 40: Basic Organic Chemistry Tutorials), educational discussions (AgriBioTalk Series), inter-high school information drives (Lakbay-Bioteknolohiya Workshops), farmer-oriented extension programs (Ugnayan Series), interactive advocacy campaigns (#EveryButilCounts, Free Demo Shirt Printings), and even a nationwide junior research conference (Project BT).

“There was this one time that we did an extension activity in Laguna. We pushed the farmers to establish an irrigation system for their farm. Right now, they’re producing almost 40% more of cavans of rice than they were able to produce before,” Lallaban shared.

One of the greatest ironies in the Philippines is that food producers like farmers and fishermen are the most vulnerable to hunger. UP GRAINS wants to change this situation in rural communities. By change, they mean continuous innovation for a better future, according to Lallaban.

“We think that the biggest lesson that our organization learned from our immersions is that there are bigger things than us, there are bigger things that we have to do, there are bigger things that we have to think about and that there is no better time to do that than now.” Rappler.com

UP GRAINS is a partner organization of Rappler’s civic engagement arm MovePH. For more information on how you can help or be part of UP GRAINS, check out their stories on X. Know more about our other organization partners:

Do you want your organization to be part of MovePH’s X Network? Email us at move.ph@rappler.com!

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Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.