Israeli Ambassador visits TAU; vows for more funding, collaboration in agro-industrial initiatives

As part of the Israeli government’s push for continuous and stronger support for Philippine’s agricultural sector, His Excellency, Ambassador Ilan Fluss, visited several laboratories and centers in Tarlac Agricultural University (TAU) on 15 November.

The day officially commenced with a courtesy call at the Office of the TAU President, Dr. Max. P. Guillermo. Dr. Guillermo was joined by Mayor Erlon C. Agustin of the Municipality of Camiling in welcoming the ambassador and the rest of the Israeli delegation which includes Mr. Nir Balzam, Deputy Chief of Mission, and Ms. Gladys Baniqued-Turiano, MASHAV officer.

Onboard the TAU Smart Agriculture Project

At the Sustainable Mechanized Agriculture for Research and Technology (TAU SMART) Agriculture Center, Ambassador Fluss planted, pollinated, and harvested several climate-resilient crops grown in the facility. He also met Agro Studies graduates and MASHAV alumni.

Dr. Amy Lizbeth J. Rico, TAU SMART Agriculture Center manager, guided the ambassador and showcased the features of the automated greenhouses which integrate computerized monitoring and controlling devices for temperature and relative humidity of the internal environment and nutrient solution, temperature, and pH level of water systems.

Moreover, Ambassador Fluss observed the free-range chickens on-site. He inquired about how different native chickens were when compared to heritage chickens. Dr. Asuncion Beltran, Vice President of TAU – Research, Extension, and Training, explained that heritage chickens are bigger and more productive than native chickens in conventional farming. Heritage chickens,

Dr. Beltran emphasized, produce more eggs, too. The ambassador was also shown the breeding area and the type of breed raised in the facility.

In the Artificial Insemination Laboratory, Ambassador Fluss expressed his concerns over the type of feeds consumed by sheep. Dr. Beltran promptly addressed this by clarifying that the sheep were fed with either combination of grasses, legumes, and concentrate feeds or silage. Ambassador Fluss and Dr. Beltran also discussed the procedures involved in the insemination

To exhibit bamboo as a sustainable alternative building material, Engr. Mark Ferrer and some TAU staff demonstrated the processes involved in turning bamboo to innovative products. The ambassador was also gifted a bamboo-made token with engraved flag of Israel.

Renewing the TAU-Israel Partnership

In what he called as an impressive display of the adoption of Israel’s technology, Ambassador Fluss commended the TAU community for “doing an amazing job” in localizing and intensifying technology transfer programs by Israel. “You have the talent and the initiative to do it,” he remarked.

Furthermore, Ambassador Fluss pledged to upgrade TAU’s agricultural facilities and to provide the needed equipment and technology to promote better farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability. He also pointed out that Israeli experts will soon assist TAU in capacity building to further bolster TAU’s status as a leading demonstration site for Agro Studies and a premier extension and training center in agriculture and allied fields in the region.  (JDuque, ELIA)

**Photos courtesy of Mr. Bhoyet Delos Santos of TAU - Planning and Development Office and Mr. Jayson Elenzano, CET-ELIA Coordinator