Southeast Asian countries learn from each other in climate change

  • 10 March 2016, Thursday

Source: The Philippine Star
10 Mar 2016

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – Southeast Asian countries, among them the Philippines, have much to learn from each other in terms of climate change initiatives.

This is exemplified by the “Overseas Study on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCAM) Initiatives in Agriculture in Vietnam” organized recently by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based here.

Philippine government-hosted 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. Commemorating its 50th foundation anniversary this year and presently headed by director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., SEARCA is based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

The study mission to Vietnam was composed of 14 officials and staff members of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Miag-ao Mayor Macario Napulan. Miag-ao, a seaside town situated 40 kilometers west of Iloilo City, is the seat of administration of the multi-campus UP Visayas, one of eight autonomous campuses of the UP System.

The mission was organized by SEARCA in collaboration with the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT)-Regional Office for Asia based in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Philippines and Vietnam are members of SEAMEO, along with the other Southeast Asian countries.

Colombia-based CIAT is one of the international centers under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research established in strategic regions of the world, among them the Los Baños-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). CIAT is the lead center of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security.

The study mission was envisioned as a means of sharing knowledge, experiences, and resources to address climate change risks in agriculture. It aimed to enhance the managerial and technical capacity of the DA Adaptation and Mitigation Initiatives in Agriculture program being undertaken in partnership with SEARCA.

During the visit to Vietnam, the Philippine team observed how climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and practices are integrated into the farmers’ overall management strategy to enhance their adaptive capacity and build resilience in the face of climate change.

“The various science-based information and tools, policies, and mechanisms for up-scaling and out-scaling of the technologies were discussed during the field visits,” reported SEARCA program specialist Rosario Bantayan, the mission’s facilitator and coordinator.

In Hanoi, the group visited the “Safe Vegetable Production” project, which demonstrates innovative and sustainable farming technologies to produce vegetables that satisfy the VietGAP (Vietnam Good Agricultural Practices) protocols and also meet the demand for food safety in vegetables and other high-value crops.

Bantayan said the Vietnam project is being implemented by Syngenta Foundation for International Agriculture, a nonprofit organization that helps farming communities increase their income by providing tools and technologies that make agriculture more productive, efficient, and profitable in the midst of a changing climate.