USC Signs a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Agriculture

Julia Isabel Roble

ON A sunny afternoon on the 12th of November, a recent collaboration between the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 and the University of San Carlos (USC) finally came into formality. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the two parties during the USC’s 21st Entrepreneurship Fair at the Ayala Activity Center. The signees for the contract were Fr. Dionisio Miranda (SVD, USC president) and Joel A. Elumba (RTD for Research and Regulation for the DA). Among those present to witness the ceremonial signing were Dr. Melanie Ocampo (dean of the School of Business and Economics), Jovenal Arnaiz (chairman of the Department of Business Administration), Dr. Jerry Avila (chief operations division of the DA), Dr. Roberto Visitacion (Entrepreneurship Cluster/Programme head) and Angelita Valles (faculty for the Business Administration).

The MOA is a collaboration of the DA 7 and the USC on the specialized track courses in line with the curriculum developed for the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship by the Department of Business Administration. The Department of Business Administration in USC has recently been renewed as a Center of Excellence and one of the courses under the department is the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship (BS ENTP). The Entrepreneurship program in USC currently offers two specialized tracks during the second year of its course–Culinary track and Agricultural track–giving students more resources to develop their future enterprises while also holding a bi-annual Entrepreneurship Fair at the Ayala Center Cebu to give students a platform for exposure.

“In other countries, what you are seeing today is supposed to be a high school program but because we are just starting the reform, we have to start somewhere and it starts at the upper level... Hopefully as we develop all instructional materials, programs and so forth overtime this can be handed over to Basic Education and it will become ready to receive the program,” Fr. Miranda said as he talked about his plans and began to remind everyone of the importance of the occasion. “For you, if you have a sense of history, this event is quite historic. But it is one of many initiatives that has to happen between government and the academe, so systematically, government, industry and academe can really come together to help our nation move from where it is into a more modernized economy.”

The current theme for this year in the USC is “New Grains: Furthering Quality Education 4.0,” an initiative that Fr. Miranda bases on reform and hopes to implement through three steps: deconstruction, reconstruction and relaunching. Fr. Miranda looked at the crowd, stressing the importance of the day’s event: “Today may look very insignificant but it is really very important and we hope–not only with the Department of Agriculture–but the other NGAs will begin to reach out not only to the university, but to the other educational institutions so that everyone, even those who will never go to college in the future, may have an important state in the future of our country.”

Elumba also spoke a few words to the crowd with his message targeted towards the audience, watching as he spoke about how we needed to teach and learn agriculture in our country.

“Agriculture is life. The Department of Agriculture is one of the National Government Agencies (NGAs) promoting the development our food. A lot of people have said–especially the students–that they don’t want to be farmers; they don’t want to be from the field since it’s ‘dirty.’ But agriculture is an enterprise, agriculture is a business. That’s why we have agribusiness or agri-entrepreneurs–so we need to teach our children about agriculture because if we don’t teach them, who will produce our food?” Elumba proceeded to inform the crowd that currently, the average age of Filipino farmers is 58 years old. He willed the crowd to realize the need to create a whole new generation of farmers to undertake food production.

“This is really important, an undertaking between a state college like the University of San Carlos and a government agency to promote, educate, and to develop an agri-entrepreneur in our region,” he said.