The mid-term review also served as the second supervision mission of the project. The objective was to assess the project's progress against its deliverables, discuss the plans for the remaining years of implementation, and decide about the overall program management. The first mission was conducted in 2018 where IFAD issued an aide-memoire to provide guidance to the project implementers in designing the annual work plan and budget (AWPB) for the ensuing project year.
The series of meetings between IFPRI and SEARCA in preparation for the mid-term project review was participated in by Dr. Joshi, joined by Dr. Devesh Roy, Senior Research Fellow; Ms. Aniq Fadhillah, ATMI-ASEAN Policy Facilitator; Mr. Manmeet Ajmani, Research Analyst; and Ms. Jyotsana Dua, Senior Office Manager, who joined the meeting via Skype. SEARCA, on the other hand was represented by Dr. Orencio, together with Ms. Bernice Anne C. Darvin, RDD Program Specialist; Mr. Jimmy B. Williams, ATMI-ASEAN Project Support Unit Coordinator; and Ms. Loise Ann M. Carandang, RDD Project Associate.
Dr. Joshi, Dr. Orencio, and Mr. Williams, presented the Year 3 accomplishments as of 28 February 2019, the statement of expenditures for 2018, and the proposed budget for Year 4. IFPRI and SEARCA enumerated the activities and initiatives conducted by the project in 2018 to respond to the observations presented by IFAD in the aide-memoire for 2017.
Dr. Bresciani acknowledged the project's engagement with the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and the Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), and their involvement in the regional- and national-level activities in the five ASEAN member states (AMS). He suggested to further explore ways for the two organizations to benefit from the project in terms of policy analysis.
He likewise lauded the initiatives that the ATMI-ASEAN Project has planned for Year 4. One of these is a publication targeted toward the end of the project implementation. He was also pleased with the one-on-one meetings with the five target AMS because these have allowed IFAD, IFPRI, and SEARCA to understand how the country-level activities will progress.
On the same day, IFAD, IFPRI, and SEARCA met with Grow Asia—Mr. Grahame Dixie, Executive Director, and Mr. Reginald Lee, Director for Partnerships, to discuss their ongoing and planned activities at the national and regional levels. Grow Asia has seen tremendous amount of agricultural innovation coming out of the national level and they would like to explore how they might leverage learnings from this and other relevant institutions into their work in the ASEAN. Grow Asia has actively participated in some of the ATMI-ASEAN activities, both national and regional.
A courtesy call followed with Dr. Pham Quang Minh, Assistant Director of Food, Agriculture & Forestry Division (FAFD) of the ASEAN Secretariat to provide updates about the project's regional and national programs including the work on developing roadmaps for regional value chains. Dr. Minh welcomed the opportunity for the ASEAN Secretariat, IFAD, IFPRI, SEARCA, and Grow Asia to engage value chain actors and strengthen the cooperation between the private sector and governments. He was happy to note that the project is also looking at maize, since this is one of the region's priority commodities, together with livestock and crops for food security and nutrition under the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN Region (SPA-FS). Dr. Minh was joined by Dr. Joseph Arbiol, FAFD Senior Officer, and Ms. Yacinta Esti, Project Manager of the ASEAN Farmers' Organisation Support Programme (AFOSP), ASEAN Foundation. (Loise Ann M. Carandang)