SEARCA forum eyes prospects for transformation of rural Philippines

Organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), a high-level Policy Forum on Rural Transformation in the Philippines: Pathways, Policies and Prospects began on Thursday, September 8, and ends today, September 9, at Luxent Hotel in Quezon City via Zoom.

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the event was in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Philippines, and the Rome-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Gregorio said this hybrid event has convened stakeholders from relevant Philippine government agencies, development and research organizations, and think tanks, civil society and farmers organizations, the academe and the private sector to discuss the state of rural transformation in the country.

He said their discussion took off from the outputs produced during the implementation of the Philippine component of the IFAD-funded project on rural transformation.

Along with him, other speakers at the forum are Dr. Rosemarie Edillon, undersecretary for policy and planning group of the National Economic and Development Authority, and Dr. Francisco Javier Pichon, head of the Mekong Hub of IFAD Asia and the Pacific Division.

Gregorio said stakeholders from other Asia-Pacific countries participating in the forum will provide insights on the rural transformation in their countries.

He also said their insights will contribute to identifying the challenges, gaps and opportunities toward achieving faster and more inclusive rural transformation and poverty eradication in the Philippines.

"The forum will also gather policy recommendations that will serve as inputs in the development of plans of action on how to support rural transformation in the Philippines," Gregorio added.

He said participating stakeholders also provide inputs to the action plan for the organization of the Technical Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development under the Network of Policy Advisors and Analysts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.

Joining the forum as session facilitators, presenters and discussants are Dr. Gerlie Tatlonghari, SEARCA program head for Research and Thought Leadership; Dr. Reehana Raza, regional director and Abdelkarim Sma, lead regional economist, both of IFAD Asia and the Pacific Division; Yolando Arban, acting program officer and senior advisor of IFAD-Philippines; Dr. Shahidur Rashid, IFPRI director for South Asia; Marlene Ramirez, secretary-general of the Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas; Dr. Roehlano Briones, senior research fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies; Dr. Agham Cuevas, professor and dean of the University of the Philippines Los Baños-College of Economics and Management (UPLB-CEM); and Assistant Prof. Karen Quilloy of UPLB-CEM.