LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – A government-hosted Southeast Asian center based here is inviting institutional and individual partners in its project to establish an agricultural museum covering the region.
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center on Agricultural and Rural Development is a brainchild of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA).
SEARCA is hosted by the Philippine government, through the Department of Education (DepEd), in the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). It is one of the 21 regional centers of SEAMEO, an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to promote cooperation in science, education and culture among Southeast Asian nations.
The AgriMuseum, said SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr., has been envisioned as a science museum and learning center for Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia.
Its design is guided by "the imperative to engage a broad-spectrum viewership, including future scientists, leaders and champions; decision and policy-makers; educators; practitioners; and enthusiasts and advocates, among them media professionals who need to know and appreciate more deeply the role of agriculture in their own lives and in national development."
The facility will have a main exhibition and gallery space, library, reading and conference rooms, bookstore and shop, as well as a food service section that will showcase the diverse Southeast Asian cuisine.
Some planned major exhibits include a virtual "ridge-to-reef" (mountain-to-sea) ecosystem that portrays Southeast Asian agriculture and rural development as well as issues and challenges in ARD in the region – such as the impacts of climate change, runaway population growth, soil degradation, and land conversion into urban space – "through video mapping of both positive and calamitous scenarios against cartographic surfaces."
SEARCA's invitation to support the AgriMuseum is extended to donor organizations and academic and research institutions, governments, the private sector, civil society, and individual advocates and movers of agricultural and rural development to deepen understanding and appreciation of this field in relation to current issues.