SEARCA launches books on agri, rural development

THE Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) has launched three new publications documenting experiences and outcomes of its sustainable agriculture and rural development initiatives.

Titled Championing Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development in Southeast Asia: Searca's 10th Five-Year Plan Plus One in Retrospect, the plan is Searca's development agenda carried out from 2014 to 2020 that was anchored on Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (Isard).

Searca Director Glenn Gregorio said launching the retrospect book is a "celebration of the success and legacy of Searca's 10th Five-Year Plan." Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr., former Searca director, explained that Isard was articulated through programs and projects on agricultural value chains and agribusiness commodity systems, food and nutrition security, and productivity enhancing innovations and technologies.

Saguiguit also noted that Searca implemented a flagship project on Isard that established pilot sites in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro and Inopacan, Leyte to prove that Isard principles and practices could truly spur agricultural and rural development and make a difference in the lives of the target communities.

Gregorio said the other two new publications are offshoots of the Searca Isard flagship project.

One of these was a guidebook on SEED: Scaling and Expanding for Effective Development, which illustrates the step-by-step process for setting up models of Isard. It was developed as a reference on the learnings from the Oriental Mindoro and Leyte Isard pilot sites, which are envisioned to be replicated in other Southeast Asian countries.

It presents principles, concepts and applications for the generation, processing, packaging and sharing of local and science-based knowledge used in the Isard project, Gregorio said.

He said the guidebook shares the actual templates, tools and formats used in implementing the Isard project and as such it will serve as a reference for the academe, local governments, farmer organizations and development institutions.

The third book, which is titled The Learning Organization: Group Dynamics, Institutional Linkages toward Technology Adoption, Value-Adding Innovation and Sustainability, chronicles the Isard pilot sites transformation stories.

Gregorio said this volume presents case studies that show the importance of group dynamics in technical assistance, capacity building, knowledge management and linkaging and networking.

He said the Oriental Mindoro and Leyte pilot sites served as the natural setting for a social laboratory analyzed in depth in the case studies.