In 2017, SEARCA partnered with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in implementing a research program funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Titled Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns or ATMI-ASEAN, the project has three major components one of which is technical assistance for planning and policy development. This component aims to assist the targeted ASEAN Member States (AMS) in designing programs and strategies for food security and value chain development in the region. The focus is on small-scale rural producers (SSRPs) and their integration within the ASEAN market.
National level policy studies in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV) and the Philippines are analyzing the value chain of the following identified agricultural commodities: maize, pulses, and swine. It is hoped that such analyses will increase knowledge and understanding of the linkages and interrelationships that exist among the various actors along the chain, and provide evidence-based information that will support policy makers and program planners in better shaping policies and programs to enhance the overall performance of the value chain.
However, despite widespread recognition regarding the importance of integrating research findings into decision-making processes, communicating complex research concepts to policymakers, practitioners and non-technical audiences has remained a significant challenge to policy researchers. Policymakers often feel daunted by having to sift through voluminous research data and information, thus, they either ignore the materials or find them incomprehensible. This creates a gap between researchers and policy makers and at the same time, a lot of published studies with sound policy recommendations are often neglected or unappreciated by the intended users, undermining integration of evidence-based knowledge into decision- making processes.
Recognizing the importance of producing evidence- based value chain analysis to guide policies and interventions and at the same time translating complex research findings into clear, simple, concise actionable recommendations, SEARCA is organizing back-to back workshops on Communicating Research on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains with Policy Makers and on Policy Proposal Development on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains.
The first workshop on Communicating Research on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains with Policy Makers primarily aims to enhance the capacity of participants, including ATMI researchers, to develop effective and evidence-based communication materials and strategies to inform and guide policy decisions. On the other hand, the workshop on Policy Proposal Development on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains shall focus on developing policies and interventions that will promote the participation of smallholders in sub-regional agricultural and food markets and enhance cooperation in food security and agricultural development among the selected countries. Through these back-to-back workshops, the participants will produce peer-reviewed, publishable quality policy briefs and policy proposals and they will gain enhanced awareness of the process of communicating with policy and decision-makers and other intended users.
Intended Participants (Workshops 1 and 2)
ATMI-ASEAN Research Teams and Focal Agencies
Representatives from government and non-government organizations engaged in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development
Commodity-based agencies; international, regional and national agencies undertaking value chain development projects
Faculty, researchers and staff of state colleges and universities (SCUs)
Selected country participants will have carried out research on the general theme of inclusive agricultural value chains. After having been selected, participants should bring to the workshop the preliminary findings or results of their research and prepare a draft of their paper to work on during the workshop. The back-to-back workshop will run for five days, including plenary lecture sessions, small group discussions and independent work, to allow participants to draft a new version of their policy brief or paper. Some follow-up work between the participants and facilitators will be necessary to get the paper finalized. Participants must be committed to completing their policy brief or paper.
Interested and qualified self-sponsored participants not part of the ATMI-ASEAN project are also welcome to join and must coordinate with the organizers at least one month before the workshops. They must bring their own related research outputs to be translated into policy briefs and policy proposals.
Workshop 1: Communicating Research on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains with Policy Makers
Identify the roles of communication in various stages of policy making process;
Explain the mindset of policy makers and their information needs;
Describe, appropriate, and demonstrate the various advocacy approaches and techniques for policy makers; and
Write and present a policy brief based on the results of their studies.
Workshop 2: Policy Proposal Development on Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains
Transform research results into relevant value-adding policies and policy measures for as needed or applicable within the contexts of their respective countries and existing policy structures.
The workshop will employ a variety of approaches and tools, namely: presentations, sharing of experience from a policy maker's perspective, group exercises, role playing and simulation, practicum, and sharing of outputs and lessons learned.
Policy briefs based on the respective research results on Agricultural Value Chains
Draft policy proposals on any of the following topics: agriculture, trade, regulatory, infrastructure; and similar policies that impinge upon the value chain processes.
Roles of Communication in Various Stages of Policy Making Process
Understanding the Mindset and Information Needs of Policy Makers