AJAD papers urge policy support to poor communities anew

SIX scientific papers in the Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development (AJAD) December 2021 issue have recommended various policy interventions that support rural communities vulnerable to climate change impacts, threatened ecosystems, food insecurity and malnutrition.

AJAD is an international refereed journal published by Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) that publishes articles resulting from empirical, policy-oriented or institutional development studies, as well as articles of perspectives on agriculture and development, political economy of rural development and trade issues.

In their paper "Rural Adaptation to Climate Change: New Findings and Existing Knowledge," Dr. Jikun Huang and his co-authors state that policy support should increase the resilience of farming systems and the adaptive capacities of farmers across Asia.

Urging local, regional and national governments should all be involved in designing the strategies, the authors said policies must be developed in the context of structural land-use changes that have occurred due to urbanization and the diversion of water supplies from agricultural to urban uses.

In another paper, "On the Archipelagic Ecology and the Economy of the Philippines," Dr. Ben Malayang 3rd's policy note underscores that the Philippine marine ecosystems which are among the world's richest in life forms and of high socioeconomic importance to Filipinos are highly threatened.

He enumerated that among the most serious threats are the combinations of overfishing; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; habitat destruction; increased demand for fisheries; and climate change.

In his observation of probably the most serious threat, Malayang said it is the "policy blindness" of the country to its vast and rich ecosystem services.


In his paper, three policy actions are proposed – effectively urging for national policies and regulations that will heighten the protection and security of all Philippine terrestrial and aquatic life forms and their genetic information from internal and external threats.

Dr. Swamikannu Nedumaran and his co-authors' study titled "Household Vulnerability to Climate Change and Identification of Target Beneficiaries to Implement Household-Specific Adaptation Strategies: A Quantitative Assessment" shows that with targeted information, government investments could mitigate climate change impacts and safeguard vulnerable households.

Based on the result of an interview survey of over 6,000 households in a drought-prone India state, the authors concluded in the study that a household-level climate vulnerability analysis will inform policymakers and decision makers to develop more responsive interventions.

They noted that household-level climate vulnerability analysis also offers better agricultural adaptation strategies to reduce risks attributable to climate variability and extreme events.

In their paper "Outcomes and Social Effects of a Community-Based Development Project on Selected Rice-Based Farmers in the Philippines," Glenn Ilar and his co-authors narrated the impact of a project not only on the technology adoption of farmers that led to an increase in their rice yield and income but also on the resulting participation, solidarity and collective action.

In their recommendation, the authors said that future community-based projects should focus not only on production technologies but also on marketing and enterprise development and to ensure the sustainability of the project and its benefits, interventions should elevate farmers from mere producers of agricultural products to "agri-preneurs."

In their study "Assessing the Effects of Access to Safe Drinking Water on Children's Nutritional Status in Indonesia," Ryota Nakamura and Takumi Kondo showed that the provision of safe drinking water improved the short- and long-term nutritional status of rural children, such as decreasing stunting and wasting by 13 percent and six percent respectively.

The authors observed the low availability of safe drinking water in rural areas, and thus improving access to safe drinking water and increasing the level of household income can improve children's nutritional status.

They suggested that policymakers should consider ways to improve access to markets for drinking water at the community level, such as lowering the price of drinking water as more cost-effective than installing piped water in each rural household.

Lastly, the paper "Agricultural Biodiversity and Coastal Food Systems: A Socio-ecological and Trans-ecosystem Case Study in Aurora Province, Philippines" is a ridge-to-reef case study on biodiversity conservation that focused on reducing agricultural chemicals, contributing to food security, improved water quality, and mitigating maternal malnutrition.

Shan Faye Alejos and her co-authors noted in this study that a biodiversity-friendly agriculture approach, developed collaboratively with farmers, resulted in an agricultural protected area supported by a local government ordinance, and encouraged the expansion of biodiversity-friendly agriculture and reductions in the chemical load of a key watershed in the study area.

Hosted by the Philippine government on the campus of the University of the Philippines Los Bas, Searca encourages submissions, which is all-year-round, at https://ajad.searca.org/submit. It said all the new and past papers published in AJAD are available online for free via https://ajad.searca.org/ while print copies are also available through subscription.

Dr. Cielito Habito, a professor of economics at the Ateneo de Manila University and director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, heads AJAD's editorial board.

Habito was a former cabinet member of the Philippine government as Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines.