To highlight the role of agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABE) in society, especially in addressing national food security amidst the many contemporary challenges and threats, the Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (PSABE) in Eastern Visayas held a two-day conference at the Visayas State University (VSU). 

This is the second regional assembly of PSABE-8 following the success of their 1st Regional Convention in 2018 held at Tierra De Milagros in Palo, Leyte. 

PSABE or formerly named PSAE (Philippine Society of Agricultural Engineers) is an accredited national organization founded in 1950 that gathers licensed and aspiring ABE in the country.

The PSABE in Region 8 Chapter is composed of diverse stakeholders–professionals, practitioners, and students from state universities and colleges (SUCs), government-owned agencies, local government units (LGUs), and private sector organizations.

This year’s conference is themed, “Empowered Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers: Effective Catalysts for Countryside Development and National Security.”

Dr. Roberto C. Guarte, the former longest-serving dean of the College of Engineering and Technology (CET), now the outgoing president of PSABE-8 graced the event as the opening speaker.

In his message, Dr. Guarte mentioned how ABE can be the agent of change in addressing food security and agricultural and environmental development issues, specifically in the countryside. 

“This convention theme is particularly relevant as the world continues to confront problems in food supply due to various challenges brought about among others by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural calamities, climate change, and now the aggression of war, human greed, and lack of access by local farmers to appropriate and suitable production and postharvest technologies and facilities, especially in developing countries like the Philippines. ABE is known worldwide to be the effective catalyst for countryside development and in sustaining continuous food supply which is attributed to very excellent characteristics of ABE because of their broad knowledge and skills in crop production and postharvest technologies, machinery and facilities, and their abilities to mechanize, automate, and even design need-based technologies and production facilities under specific conditions. This is what we are, ABE,” the PSABE-8 Outgoing President said.

One of the major activities of the convention is the various plenary sessions on topics related to the ABE Profession and the Practice of ABE Profession and an open forum. Plenary speakers come from different local, national, and even international agencies, such as the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA-8), National Irrigation Administration (NIA-8), and Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA-8).

Dr. Rico O. Cruz, a Filipino Balik Scientist, and Dr. Nazmi Mat Nawi, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the Universiti of Putra Malaysia are the two international speakers invited by PSABE-8.

Dr. Nawi discussed the Adoption of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) in the Agricultural Sector in Malaysia: The Role of Agricultural Engineers. During his plenary talk, he mentioned that even in his country, the number of young generations engaging in agriculture is declining. To catch the interest of the youth to engage in agriculture, he emphasized the need to develop and adopt modern technologies in the IR4.0.


The second day of the event was highlighted by the continuation of the plenary sessions and the presentation and selection of the best technical paper and poster. The conference concluded with the awarding and oath-taking of the new set of officers both the PSABE-8 and the first set of Pre-Professional Group (PPG-8) officers.


Meanwhile, ABE students of VSU who participated in the academic competitions bagged several major awards during the event. They took home the beacon in Mural Painting, Essay Writing, ABE Quiz Bee, and AutoCAD Challenge among others.

Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, VSU President, gave his full support to PSABE-8 and the VSU Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (DABE) for successfully hosting the second regional convention at VSU.

“Your profession is important for development not only in villages or barangays, but also in our municipalities, and the whole province as well. I’m glad that PSABE, even at the provincial [level] is at the mainstream to help us develop our systems in agriculture, especially on mechanization, production, postharvest processing, water and irrigation systems, and soils,” Dr. Tulin said.

At the same event, Engr. Andres Tuates, the National President of PSABE awarded the PSABE Eastern Visayas Chapter with the certificate of accreditation for having complied with all the requirements needed for accreditation.


The activity ran from February 2 to 3 at the VSU RDE Hall.


[Photos courtesy of Joseph Kenneth Labastida, Ma. Nelia Lague, and Marianne Bayron]

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