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FFTC EXTERNAL REVIEW

The last external review conducted by FFTC was 23 years ago in February, 1992. In 2014, during the meeting of the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), it was highly recommended that the Center conduct another external review to assess and evaluate the programs, projects and activities of FFTC under a rapidly changing agricultural environment.

With the recommendation of the TAC members, the FFTC management invited a review team composed of three distinguished scientists and management experts. Prior to the review proper, FFTC conducted a self-assessment through an online survey as part of the materials for the review. Part of the methodology was to conduct interviews with the FFTC management, professional and support staff, consultants and selected officials of the Center’s partner agencies in order to validate and verify the contents of the materials provided to the reviewers. The external review team used the logic model as their methodology in conducting the review. Widely used by the international agricultural research community, the logic model has become a basic tool for program management.

The whole external review proper officially started on October 19 and ended in October 31. In  the span of two weeks, the team was able to do onsite visits to two of FFTC’s partner organizations—The Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) in Taichung and the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) in My Tho city, Vietnam.

Major findings/recommendations:

  • Transform the role of FFTC from being an “agricultural technology information center” to an “agricultural technology knowledge management center” for small-scale farmers in the Asian Pacific region;
  • Evaluate the Center’s performance based on outcomes rather than the outputs (number of activities). Focus on projects that have better chances of generating outcomes through the knowledge diffusion chain;
  • Be proactive in refining and optimizing the Center’s endeavors. Conduct an external review at least once every 10 years;
  • Establish interactive multimedia where partners can freely communicate and share information, get feedbacks and suggestions as well as follow-up on activities. To ensure outcomes, conduct surveys periodically; and
  • Develop project activities in partnership with other institutes to augment the project funds. Partners maybe more willing to share financial resources if the projects are of interest and the outcomes beneficial to them.

FFTC external review

Held in Taiwan and Vietnam, March-December, 2015
No. of participating countries:  Selected FFTC member countries
No. of participants: 3 reviewers and 1 FFTC professional staff

ERT team leader Dr. Samson C.S. Tsou (in sunglasses) listens to Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa, (middle) DG of SOFRI as he explains the current activities in their experimental field in My Tho city, Vietnam. On the right is ERT member Dr. Shuichi Asanuma.

 

The FFTC external review team (left table) composed of (L to R) Dr. Roberto Rañola, Dr. Shuichi Asanuma and Dr. Samson C. S. Tsou meet the SOFRI management and discussed project tie ups with the Center. Photo shows (rightmost)  SOFRI’s Director General Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa and two of his staff.

 

The FFTC external review team: (From L to R) Dr. Roberto Rañola, Mr. Ronald Mangubat (Secretary), Dr. Samson C.S. Tsou and Dr. Shuichi Asanuma.

 

The ERT, together with SOFRI’s Dr. Nguyen Van Hoa, conduct an interview with a citrus farmer in the outskirts of MyTho city. FFTC and SOFRI have long been working on the mitigation of HLB disease in the citrus plantations of Vietnam.

 

NTU Professor Dr. Zueng Sang Chen meets the ERT members during the one-on-one series of interviews. For many years, Dr. Chen has been a technical consultant of the Center on matters concerning soils and fertilizers. 


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