SEARCA currently implements three IFAD-funded grant projects, namely: (1) Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Asia and Pacific-Islands Region with Agricultural Advisory Services (SAAS) under the Project Development and Technical Services (PDTS); (2) Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns (ATMI-ASEAN); and (3) Rural Regional Transformation: Pathways, Policy Sequencing, and Development Outcomes in China, the Philippines, and Vietnam (RRT) both under the Research and Development Department (RDD).
During the first day, Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, Program Head for Research and Development, served as one of the panelists of Session 1: 2018 COSOP and Annual Country Programme Review Results. Dr. Orencio raised the impending challenges for project implementers to keep their programs significant and relevant given the changing conditions affecting the agriculture and rural sectors. He identified three key considerations that projects should take into consideration to achieve impact and sustainability: (1) people or target beneficiaries, (2) processes and strategies, and (3) partnerships and commitments. On the second day, Ms. Sarah Grace L. Quinones, Project Associate of the SAAS Project, presented the project's good practices and initiatives regarding the provision of advisory/extension services to farmers. In her presentation, Ms. Quiñones highlighted the Policy Recommendation authored by the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Philippine Extension and Advisory Services Network, Inc. (PhilEasNet) through the SAAS project, which emphasizes the need for a separate criteria in the Seal of Good Local Governance to recognize the agricultural sector and encourage local government units (LGUs) to prioritize agricultural development. This policy recommendation is currently at the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture for evaluation.
Ms. Nancy M. Landicho, OIC and Program Specialist, PDTS; Ms. Bernice Anne C. Darvin, Program Specialist, RDD; Prof. Jimmy B. Williams, ATMI-ASEAN Project Support Unit (PSU) Coordinator; and Dr. Pedro A. Alviola IV, RRT Project Leader, likewise, participated in the learning group sessions and action planning workshop.
More than 50 participants from various IFAD-funded loan and grant projects in the Philippines attended the 11th ACPoR, which was hosted by the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project or CHARMP2. (Bernice Anne C. Darvin with inputs from Sarah Grace L. Quiñones)