Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

DA inaugurates Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases

Author: DA Communications Group | 11 June 2022

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar led the inauguration of the country’s first Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (CenTrAD) in Central Luzon State University (CLSU) on June 11, 2022.

CenTrAD, a joint project between the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and CLSU will break new ground in the emergency management of transboundary animal diseases through surveillance, detection, mapping, diagnosis, analysis, prevention and control following acceptable international standards.

During the ceremony, Secretary Dar iterated that the African Swine Fever (ASF), which nearly wiped out the country’s billion-peso hog industry in 2019, will not be the last disease that can wreak havoc to the Philippines’ animal sector.

“Let us learn from ASF. We cannot anymore put our animal industry at risk like that. We have to have a mindset that another outbreak can always come anytime like the ASF, so we must be prepared,” the agri chief said.

Funded through Republic Act 11494 or “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,” CenTrAD shall serve as the country’s premier hub for animal health innovation, focusing on accelerating the development of vaccines against transboundary and emerging animal diseases.

Aside from these priority focus, Secretary Dar recommended strategies in operationalizing CenTrAD, which include: (1) building a network of partners involving other academic and scientific institutions to expand human capital; (2) putting up a fellowship program for various research activities; and (3) establishing adjunct scientist appointments, comprised of willing and able retired experts and scientists within and outside the university.

“I have employed the very same measures during my stint as Director General of ICRISAT in India, and these resulted to knowledge networks where a vast of scientists and experts there, whether young or old, collaborated for one shared goal: to innovate and transform agriculture. And they did,” Secretary Dar said, adding that ICRISAT generated more funds from partners as a result of the initiative.

CenTrAD project leader and College of Veterinary Science and Medicine (CVSM) dean Dr. Virginia Venturina showcased the P90-million worth of cutting edge equipment employed in the Center, which according to her “will provide a timely, rapid, and accurate disease reporting to institute early response from detection to containment.”

Aside from basic research, Secretary Dar also instructed CenTrAD to put premium to anticipatory research and come up with programs that are forward looking, so that risk aversion and response measures are already in place even before a health crisis hits the ground.

Major academic partners of CLSU in the implementation of CenTrAD include Cavite State University, Central Bicol State University, Central Mindanao University, Isabela State University, Visayas State University, Tarlac State University, Cagayan State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, and Pampanga State Agricultural University.

On September 23, 2020, Secretary Dar and CLSU President Edgar Orden along with key officials of DA and CLSU signed the memorandum of agreement for the establishment of CenTrAD worth P234 million. ### (Daryl Lou A. Battad, DA- StratComms)

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