Written By: SEAMEO SEARCA
Dr. Ramon C. Barba (BSA 1958), a renowned Filipino plant scientist from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), will be the third recipient of the prestigious Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in Agricultural Development (Umali Award) to be presented during a program to be held at SEARCA on 23 November 2011.
Dr. Ramon C. BarbaThe Umali Award is a collaboration among SEARCA, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and the Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation (DLUF). It comes with a cash award of USD10,000 and a plaque.
Dr. Barba, 72, will be conferred the award for his many contributions that have had unprecedented impact on agriculture. Foremost among these is his breakthrough discovery in 1974 of mango flower induction by potassium nitrate (KNO3), making it possible for fruits to be available all year round.
The use of KNO3 is inexpensive, flower production is profuse, and fruit production can be programmed according to market demands, benefitting both farmers and consumers. Although Dr. Barba holds a patent for this technology, he has foregone royalties due him so that mango farmers can use it without additional cost.
Dr. Barba is known to perceive simple solutions to complex problems and produce results with minimum resources. His research on induced mango flowering was a private initiative that had cost less than five hundred pesos (PHP 500) to complete.
Other achievements of Dr. Barba include banana micropropagation and tissue culture of sugarcane and calamansi, and all have left an impact on the agribusiness potentials of these commodities in the world market.
The Umali Award will be presented to Dr. Barba by Dr. Emil Q. Javier, former UP President and now NAST President, together with SEARCA Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., UPLB Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz, and DLUF President Nelia T. Gonzales.
Dr. Barba will deliver a lecture on his lifetime work as part of the program, which is the main highlight of the celebration of SEARCA’s 45th anniversary.
Launched in 2007, the Umali Award recognizes lifetime achievements of exemplary individuals who have advanced agricultural development in Southeast Asia. It was named after the late Dioscoro L. Umali, founding Director of SEARCA and a National Scientist, and whose quest for scholarship and excellence in agriculture fueled his vision for a progressive Southeast Asia.