LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA, Philippines – More than 22,000 Filipino farmers have benefited from a project funded by the European Union (EU).
The program, called Focused-Food Production Assistance to Vulnerable Sectors (FPAVAS), was implemented by the government-run Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) together with the Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD) of France.
FPAVAS was among the many activities pursued by SEARCA and France during the past three decades of cooperation.
SEARCA is one of the 21 regional centers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government treaty organization founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture.
France is an associate member of SEAMEO, which commemorated its 50th anniversary last year.
FPAVAS was one of eight European Union projects in the Philippines under the program called “Facility for Rapid Response to Soaring Food Prices in Developing Countries.”.It aimed to undertake a food production program for the most vulnerable sectors of six provinces: Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, all in Luzon; and Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental, both in Mindanao.
The project had benefited more than 22,000 farmers and fisherfolks in the six provinces covered.
As early as 1979, France and SEARCA have been collaborating in the implementation of research programs on energy foods in Southeast Asia, nitrogen fixation by legumes and soil fertility, and amino acid.
The partnership opened opportunities for French and Thai experts to visit SEARCA and Calancan Bay in Marinduque and for the center’s research staff to present the SEARCA coastal resource management projects in France.
On Feb. 25, 2013, SEARCA signed in Paris a milestone memorandum of understanding for cooperation with Agreenium, the French consortium of eight government institutions for agricultural research and education.