SEARCA to take lead on swine roadmap

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) will lead the crafting of a roadmap for the pork-based processed products value chain in the Philippines.

According to SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio, the roadmap would be under the five-year “Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the Asean Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns” project jointly implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute and SEARCA.

Asean stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is made up of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Gregorio said SEARCA would lead the development of national roadmaps for key agriculture-based value chains where smallholders play a prominent role in five countries, including the Philippines, with priority commodities in other Asean members covered by the project, such as maize (corn) for Cambodia and Laos, pulses for Myanmar, and pig for Vietnam.

These countries recently completed a value-chain study of their chosen commodity, which will serve as the take-off point in developing the roadmap, said Pedcris Orencio, SEARCA program head for research and thought leadership.

He said the national roadmap would involve a set of strategies, programs and specific activities that would benefit stakeholders on all levels of the value chain.

“Stakeholders in the Philippines will identify a shared regional vision for the development of the targeted value chains in [Southeast Asia], including the role of smallholder agriculture in their upgrade and scaling-up,” Orencio added.

This vision will help identify key policies, food safety and quality standards, and opportunities for cooperation in research and development, which will support progress toward achieving an improved policy and regulatory framework at the international level and fostering the policy dialogue on regional food security and market integration among Asean members.

“[T]he national roadmaps to be crafted starting this month are expected to provide solutions to manage the process of structural transformation of smallholder agriculture and strengthen agriculture’s contribution to the competitiveness of Southeast Asian economies,” Gregorio said.

This is aligned, he added, with SEARCA’s current focus on academe-industry-government interconnectivity to strengthen agricultural innovations and promote market-driven agribusiness development in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia to accelerate structural transformation in the agriculture sector.

In partnership with SEARCA, the Department of Agriculture is the focal agency for the development of the national roadmap.

Earlier, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Lerey Panes said the project was important in revising the country’s swine industry and helping smallholder or backyard hog raisers.

The study also considers the African swine fever that afflicted hog populations in various parts of the country.

The development of the roadmap is part of the technical assistance on planning and policy development component of the project funded by the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development.