Agri and rural development leaders set to gather at SEARCA Stakeholders Forum

  • By Leah Lyn D. Domingo
  • 15 October 2020

Institutional and thought leaders will convene in a Stakeholders Forum organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to strategize together for a transformative agricultural and rural development (ARD) in Southeast Asia in the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEARCA Stakeholders ForumTo be held virtually on 28 October 2020, the forum will discuss the status of ARD in Southeast Asia by showcasing and highlighting strategic lessons from institutional experiences, both in the science and practice of ARD in the region, in the past five years. Dr. Paul Teng of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore will keynote this session. Other speakers during this plenary session include University of the Philippines Los Baños Chancellor Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Jr. and former SEARCA Director Dr. Gil Saguiguit, Jr.

Since SEARCA is pushing for inclusive innovation and academe-industry-government interconnectivity towards "Agriculture 4.0," there will also be presentations to define a forward-looking and transformative ARD in Southeast Asia from the various perspectives, including from that of the academe, industry, and government. SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio will set the tone for the discussions in this session with his keynote message. Joining him in this plenary session are Nagoya University President Dr. Seiichi Matsuo and Dr. Sutkhet Nakasathien of Kasetsart University to speak from the perspective of the academe; Mr. Christian Lauron of SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co., a Philippine multidisciplinary professional services firm, to speak from an industry perspective; and Philippine Agriculture Secretary Dr. William D. Dar to speak from the perspective of government. Other speakers comprise a panel of reactors, namely: Dr. Jiangfeng Zhang of the Asian Development Bank, Dr. Fabrizio Bresciani of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Undersecretary Mercedita Sombilla of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and Atty. Allan Barcena of the Energy Development Corporation.

Representatives from various international development organizations and funding institutions, government agencies, and higher education institutions who are expected to attend the forum will identify new and key emerging challenges and opportunities in Southeast Asia.

The forum participants will also identify common priorities, pragmatic actions, and modalities for partnerships and collaboration in the following areas: agri-business models for increased productivity and income; resilient farming systems and natural resources for food and nutrition security; transformational leadership and youth engagement in ARD; and EcoHealth/One Health applications in agricultural and rural development.

The four priority areas will also comprise the themes of the four parallel sessions envisaged to be a rich knowledge-sharing and networking opportunity for the forum participants.

The speakers in the parallel sessions include Dr. Stuart Crispin of the University of Tasmania, Australia; Prof. Dr. Datuk Mad Nasir Shamsudin of Universiti Putra Malaysia; Mr. Daniël Jongejan of Kennemer Eco-Solutions; Ms. Ellen Joyce Suficiencia of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Dr. Anna Korzenszky and Dr. Luis Claudio Campos of IFAD; Ms. Cynthia Remedios De Guia of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR); Dr. Ethel Agnes Valenzuela of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat; Ms. Cherrie Atilano of AGREA Agricultural Systems International, Inc.; Dr. Jane Curnow of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); Ms. Ariana Marnicio and Mr. Christopher Mawhorter of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative; Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr. of the University of the Philippines Manila; Dr. Flavie Goutard of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD); Prof. Dr. Wayan Tunas Artama of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia; Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay of the University of the Philippines Resilience Institute; and Dr. Howarth Bouis, World Food Prize Laureate and Emeritus Fellow of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The plenary sessions will be open to the public and livestreamed via Facebook, while the parallel sessions are by invitation only.