SEARCA, multilateral fund in talks to ensure Aspac food security

  • 27 June 2016, Monday

Source: The Philippine Star
26 Jun 2016

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – A United Nations (UN) agency is looking forward to enlist a Southeast Asian center based here as a “development partner.”

Over the past months, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been discussing with the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) several projects intended to benefit the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asian regions.

The move is in line with efforts to address the overriding problems of poverty and food security.

The projects will focus on rural advisory services for farmers and farming communities and food policy research for ASEAN.

Based in Rome, Italy, IFAD is a specialized agency of the UN established in 1977 dedicated to the eradication of poverty in developing countries.

SEARCA is one of the 21 regional centers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture.

The center is hosted by the Department of Education, in the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

“The impending increase of collaborative projects and programs not only with IFAD but also with other major international development organizations is a breakthrough for SEARCA,” said center director Gil  Saguiguit Jr.

The initiative is expected to bolster significantly SEARCA’s efforts to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural development in the Philippines and the ASEAN region. SEARCA, which is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year, now covers all the 11 Southeast Asian countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

“We are pleased and grateful that our partners and donors have placed their trust in us,” Saguiguit said.

He further averred: “It shows that SEARCA is fast becoming known as a major development partner in this part of the world. This comes at the cusp of the center’s 50th anniversary celebration representing five decades of outstanding agricultural and rural development work in the region and beyond.”