Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center on Agricultural and Rural Development
Background and Rationale
Agriculture remains the backbone of most Southeast Asian economies and the primary source of livelihood of their rural communities. Some experts have even asserted the region's potentials as a possible food basket of the world. The dawn of the ASEAN Economic Community and its post-2015 challenges present opportunities to highlight the potential contribution of agriculture not only to food and nutrition security for the ASEAN population, but also in helping feed the world.
In pursuit of advancing agricultural and rural development (ARD) in the ASEAN region, a wider appreciation of Southeast Asian agriculture among the youth and the general public who matter to policy and decision makers will contribute to an enabling environment conducive to innovation for inclusive and sustainable ARD. Designed to appeal to various users, the learning center addresses the waning interest in agriculture among the youth and general public and is hoped to draw to policymakers' attention the importance of ARD in the 11 SEAMEO member countries.
In this light, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) invites partners to collaborate on establishing a Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center on ARD. The SEA AgriMuseum will deepen understanding and appreciation of ARD in the region and interpret its research and issues of the day.
The proposed SEA AgriMuseum aims to:
Advance the science and practice of ARD in Southeast Asia;
Promote awareness on and appreciation of the state of ARD in Southeast Asian/ASEAN nations and region as a whole; and
Stimulate discussion, learning, innovation, and collaboration for inclusive and sustainable ARD in Southeast Asia.
Intended Users and Uses
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum will be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of users including youths/students, farmers, development practitioners, policy and decision makers, researchers, media professionals, and the general public who need to know and appreciate more deeply the role of agriculture in their own lives and in national development. The museum will serve as a showcase of science-based knowledge, innovations, and recommendations for an inclusive and sustainable ARD in Southeast Asia in a fun and relaxed setting.
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum will be an exhibition experience that allows a visitor to:
"Enter into" the ARD landscape from the uplands to the lowlands including coastal communities, appreciating the cross-ecosystem character of Southeast Asian agriculture
Journey through each of the 11 SEAMEO-member countries via "Windows to Southeast Asia," each one a portal to the origins and peculiarities of ARD in the country of focus
Grasp intimately the current challenges and issues in ARD in Southeast Asia, including climate change, food security, rural poverty and social inclusion, biotechnology, biodiversity, and environmental sustainability
Appreciate successes and solutions in ARD in the region, such as the conversion of poppy-growing into food producing indigenous communities and sufficiency economy model farms in Thailand, climate change adaptation and mitigation ecotown models, agribusiness and agritourism showcases, and noteworthy agricultural advances and technologies applied in the region
Emulate ARD movers who have made an impact on ARD in Southeast Asia, including the late His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and members of his royal family, Dioscoro L. Umali Awardees in Agricultural Development, outstanding farmers and agriculture professionals, among others, during intimate seminars and as immortalized in their memorabilia and publications.