AS the current trend of agriculture is geared towards making it more attractive to the younger generations again, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) will establish an interactive agri museum beside their office at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB).
SEARCA director Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. said they are currently on the blueprint planning and curatorial stages of the 1,000 square meters (sq.m.) Southeast Asian Agri Museum and Learning Center on Agricultural and Rural Development.
He said they were working closely with the team behind the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig for this stage.
"The main objective of this agri museum is for people to understand more what agriculture is, what climate change is among many other things," said Saguiguit adding that they have started with the excavation for the foundations of the building and they target to finish construction tentatively by the end of 2019.
On top of this, the agri museum also targets to contribute to the advancement of the science and enterprise of agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia, promote awareness and appreciation on the dynamics of agriculture in the region, and stimulate further discussion and innovation for a sustainable agriculture in Southeast Asia.
The estimated total cost of the agri museum is US$1.8 million, including the structure, exhibits, digital hardware, and contents. The Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture Research (DA-BAR) had already shelled out P5 million contribution while the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) had committed to give out part of the surplus of their annual budget, said Saguiguit.
The Agri museum will be divided into six significant parts arranged to give the visitors an interactive experience different from traditional museums. These parts include: (1) highlights of Southeast Asian agriculture; (2) unique foodscapes of Southeast Asia; (3) lifescape of Southeast Asia; (4) challenges to wiping out hunger; (5) hope for Southeast Asian agriculture; and (6) what lies ahead for Southeast Asian agriculture.
For the first three parts, countries in Southeast Asia will be designated with their respective areas to show the centrality of agriculture in their countries as well as their respective distinguishing features. The last three parts, on the other hand, poses the current and future challenges in agriculture and what could possibly be done. On these parts, the visitors will be made to see and understand means to adapt to climate change, environmental sustainability, food safety and trade, social inclusion, and agri innovation and biotech.
Saguiguit said they are also working closely with different agriculture representatives in other Southeast Asian countries for conceptualization as well as the artifacts that they might also wish to donate. Now, SEARCA welcomes contributions in financial, material, archaeological, historical, intellectual, and other kinds of resources that may help with the completion of the Agri Museum.