The Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) successfully offered the 6th UC Summer School from 13-27 November 2022 at the Banyuwanggi Regency and Malang, Indonesia. This year's offering with the theme “Crop Diversification, Mixed Cropping, and Risk Management in Smallholders’ Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change” was jointly organized by Universitas Brawijaya (UB) in collaboration with L'Institut Agro of France. Specifically, the course aimed for the post-graduate participants to collectively build a framework for the assessment of mixed cropping and risk evaluation in smallholders’ agriculture; develop their capacities on integrated sustainability of production systems through active learning and examine how strategic choices and the cropping systems adopted at the farm/household level evolve and can uphold their performance in the context of changes related to climate or other regulations.
Thirty-one (31) graduate students from the UC member institutions and L'Institut Agro attended the summer school. Prior to their arrival in Malang, Indonesia, the participants met twice online to prepare for their upcoming trip. They likewise participated in a three-day seminar at UB in preparation for their fieldwork. The students spent one week developing a multidisciplinary assessment in Kemiren Village and the Banyuwanggi Regency together with the resource persons from UB and L'Institut Agro.
The participants developed a co-learning approach with the local farmers and stakeholders in the villages. Investigation tools used during the program were participatory interviews, focus group discussions, and direct measurements of the economic and agronomic performance of the local farms. Data gathered was then processed and analyzed and the results of the studies were presented on 26 November 2022 during the closing of the UC Summer School, with the UC Executive Board Members in attendance.
The 6th UC Summer School was the first activity of the UC to be conducted face-to-face after the pandemic. The said activity has been postponed from 2020-2021 due to pandemic restrictions as the virtual conduct of the program will not satisfy the active learning component of the course. The Summer School is a postgraduate course designed to enhance the understanding of students and other professionals in rural studies, agriculture, and natural resource management on the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in tackling the issue of food and nutrition security in Southeast Asia for sustainable development.