SEARCA bats for climate-smart villages

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) see the potential of establishing climate-smart villages (CSVs) for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Climate Resilience Network.

Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA director, said the program was grounded on SEARCA and IIRR's proven experience in conducting innovative regional learning activities and working with communities on climate-resilient agriculture.

SEARCA, according to Gregorio, will host the workshop on establishing CSVs in the ASEAN to improve food security and resiliency in local communities. The workshop would be hosted at the SEARCA headquarters here on July 8 to 14.

The CSV approach was developed by the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

"The CSV approach is to help address climatic risks to agriculture-based livelihood. Specifically, it aims to enable farmers to learn from evidence generated at the local level and build their own CSVs," Gregorio explained.

He said the workshop, which was designed for ASEAN member-states, would provide participants with experiential knowledge on the principles and practice of CCAFS' CSV approach to promote climate-smart agriculture and its potential in enhancing food security in local communities.

The workshop will highlight the experiences in establishing CSVs in Southeast Asia, particularly the CSV in Guinayangan, Quezon initiated by IIRR, Gregorio added.

Since 2014, the Guinayangan climate-smart agriculture interventions have reached 1,500 farmers through farmer-to-farmer scaling. The Guinayangan CSV has also been a "go-to site" for agricultural development workers learning the participatory approaches, technologies and social learning methodologies to promote climate-smart agriculture and villages.

The Department of Agriculture also used it as a learning site for capacitating 17 of its regional field offices and their respective local government units in developing Adaptation and Mitigating Initiatives in Agriculture or AMIA villages — the Philippine adaptation of CSV — in all 17 regions in the country.

"Often in partnership with like-minded institutions, SEARCA regularly organizes high-level discussions that may support policy advocacy and encourage organizations to learn from best practices of their counterparts from the ASEAN region," Gregorio said.

Co-organizing the workshop is an initiative under SEARCA's Umbrella Program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Southeast Asia.