– The Royal University of Agriculture (RUA), the country’s premier agricultural university, partnered with the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to develop sustainable aquafeed.

According to SEARCA, through its Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), RUA is collaborating with SEARCA and USM for a project to develop innovative and sustainable aquafeed using local agro-residual resources.

Dr. Lyda Hok, RUA-CE SAIN Director, expressed optimism that the collaboration will strengthen RUA’s capacity to contribute to the development of his country.

He said CE SAIN was established through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, or Fish Innovation Lab, in 2016. The main objective is to foster private sector innovation, agricultural research, education and training, and public sector capacity building through improved collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Dr. Hok added that CE SAIN focuses on improving food and nutrition security while enhancing the quality of soil, water, and biodiversity.

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio said that through the tripartite partnership, a joint scholarship will be provided to one RUA constituent for AY 2021-2023 to pursue MS Aquatic Biology at USM as a response to the need of Cambodia for an aquatic science expert. This will be in addition to the 88 SEARCA scholarships awarded to Cambodians to date.

He expressed excitement about the project as the majority of SEA RCA’s work tackles agriculture policy development and programme advisory with limited undertaking in the field of aquaculture. He said it also aligns with the Centre’s thrust of developing next-generation agriculture leaders and professionals through creating partnerships. With this new collaboration, SEARCA now offers 12 joint scholarship projects for Southeast Asians.

Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, SEARCA Programme Head for Education and Collective Learning, said the scholar is expected to contribute to RUA-CE SAIN’s project funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and enhance the capacity of RUA’s Faculty of Fisheries.

For his part, Dr. Mark Lawrence, Director of the Fish Innovation Lab, highlighted the importance of fish in Cambodia in terms of providing livelihood and food and nutrition.

Dr. Cuaresma explained that RUA-CE SAIN will cover part of the scholar’s stipend, while SEARCA will cover the difference as well as provide other scholarship benefits, including support for international travel, tuition, insurance, and book and supplies allowance, as part of its Institutional Development Assistance to RUA. She added that USM will serve as the scholarship study post and will provide funding for scholars’ research.

Prof. Dr. MD Roslan Hashim, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability and Institutional Development) of USM, a premier research university that strives to enhance and strengthen its educational programs, affirmed USM’s commitment to sustainability. He expressed hope that the partnership will eventually lead to development, social empowerment, industrial growth, and scientific progress.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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