IFAD’s lead regional economist of the Asia and Pacific division visits SEARCA
Dr. Fabrizio Bresciani, the lead regional economist at the Asia and Pacific Division of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study (SEARCA) on 9 September 2015 to discuss the grant proposal entitled “Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns.” Dr. Bresciani was welcomed by Dr. Bessie M. Burgos and Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Heads of SEARCA’s Research and Development Department, and the Graduate Education and Institutional Development Department, respectively.
Dr. Bresciani explained that the overall goal of the grant proposal is to strengthen the institutional capacity of ASEAN Member States (AMS) in developing and implementing policies and sub-regional programs that would support integration of smallholders in sub-regional agricultural and food markets. To pursue this objective, IFAD will be working in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and SEARCA to carry out activities within a five-year implementation period.
The proposal will have three components, namely, (1) policy studies and expert workshops, (2) high-level policy forum and roundtables, and (3) technical assistance for planning and policy development. Specifically, SEARCA will lead the implementation of a subset of activities including the analysis of national strategies and policies that promote the competitiveness of smallholder agriculture and its inclusion in regional agrifood markets (Component 1), and the organization of a roundtable that aimed at developing plan of actions for the promotion of smallholder agriculture in the context of the ASEAN Common Market (Component 2).
Aside from giving updates on the status of the grant proposal, Dr. Bresciani also explained IFAD’s four thematic areas and the changes in its grant policies. On the other hand, Dr. Burgos and Dr. Cuaresma briefed Dr. Bresciani on SEARCA’s umbrella programs on Food and Nutrition Security, and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, as well as SEARCA’s plan on how the Center and its networks can take part in the IFAD initiatives. (Suzette C. Simondac)