(01/10/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — U-Nichols Manalo, director of the National Corn Program of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, recently gave a presentation detailing his research during his time at LSU working with LSU AgCenter economist Naveen Adusumilli.
Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Borlaug Fellowship Program, Manalo and Adusumilli have been developing policy tools and recommendations relevant to climate-resilient agriculture in the Philippines.
Adusumilli said he and fellow ag economist Michael Deliberto served as principal investigators on the project, which looked at ways to bring more efficiency to the Philippine’s corn production sector.
“Our goal in this research is to reduce post-harvest losses in feed corn, of which they grow about 80%, and they import the remaining 20% from other countries,” Adusumilli said. “We want to help them to understand the opportunities available to them.”
Manalo said the main challenges facing his country are an underdeveloped agriculture and forestry sector, soaring food prices and the high price of production inputs.
“Other challenges that we are facing are impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the presence of transboundary pests and diseases and the impact of climate change,” he said.
The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service sponsors the Borlaug Fellowship Program, which is an exchange program for faculty and scientists from developing countries.
Each fellow is assigned a mentor who coordinates the fellow’s training. The LSU AgCenter’s Global Network receives an annual notification of Borlaug fellows accepted to the program and seeks to identify faculty members who could be potential mentors to any of those fellows.
The network then asks those faculty members if they are willing to work with the Global Network and develop a proposal to host a fellow.
If the proposal is accepted by the USDA, the faculty member mentors the fellow over eight to 12 weeks with Global Network’s administrative and logistical support.
Each individual Borlaug Fellowship concludes with a follow-up trip by the mentor to the fellow’s country of origin.
Jonathan Hubchen, assistant director of the AgCenter Global Network, said there is a two-stage process for bringing in fellows.
“The first step includes recruiting the fellows, and the second stage is when the host institutions are identified, which occurs in late May,” he said.
The AgCenter has hosted nearly 40 fellows in the past 12 years. Manalo is the second of the Borlaug fellows hosted by Adusumilli.
A third fellow under a similar program, the Scientific Exchange Program, will be coming to LSU in the summer to conduct research on climate policy in relation to rice production, Adusumilli said.
The school of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences has hosted one third of the 40 Borlaug fellows that visited LSU, Hubchen said.
U-Nichols Manalo, director of the National Corn Program of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, presents his research findings following his visit as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture- sponsored Borlaug Fellowship program. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
U-Nichols Manalo, director of the National Corn Program of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, second from left, receives his Certificate of Completion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded Borlaug Fellowship. Pictured are LSU AgCenter economist Naveen Adusumilli; Manalo; Jonathan Hubchen, assistant director of the AgCenter Global Network; P. Lynn Kennedy head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, and Agriculture Economist Michael Deliberto. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter