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There were some big events in the agriculture arena in 2017.  Avian Influenza H7N9 strain continued to threaten global food security. The entire ecosystem became the focus of the global discussion on sustainable agriculture. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed that world 
hunger is on the rise again, reversing years in progress. Severe monsoon flooding in Southeast Asia killed over 1,000, destroying homes and crops. Five UN agencies collaborated on a report on food security and nutrition showing an increase in hunger due to climate change and conflict. And 19 of the G20 countries reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord.
 
Food Tank, a global community pushing for food system change, has observed that everywhere, there are signs of a growing movement for food security, justice and sustainability. Their website states: “Companies are updating animal welfare policies, governments are starting to step up to protect pollinators, and young people are not only speaking out, but are increasingly forcing change in our food system.”

In its own humble way, FFTC has been doing its share in addressing some of the issues that affect global agriculture. Since 1970, the Center continues to stay relevant by fulfilling its mission to provide timely and relevant information on agricultural technologies to help farmers in the Asian Pacific region. It collects, organizes and conducts workshops, seminars, trainings, farm demonstrations, consultations, etc. as a way of collecting information on topics that impact the lives of farmers and members of the entire food value-chain. The Center manages its own website where its online publications are uploaded and works with several national partners to disseminate the information collected from its various activities.

Since 2013, FFTC has embarked on an agricultural policy platform by developing its own database of agricultural policy articles written by agricultural economists and scholars in different countries in the Asia Pacific. It is now an interactive platform which encourages and engages its growing number of readers, subscribers and online visitors to interact with the authors. This year, the Center embarked on the following projects addressing global agriculture’s most pressing issues.  

Project 1: Adopting smart beef cattle feeding techniques

FFTC co-organized this seminar with Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) in Thailand, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) in Japan and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) to help livestock farmers better understand the current situation and future directions of beef cattle or buffalo production in Asian countries.

Project 2: Enhancing farm management efficiency by ICT for young farmers

This seminar, which was held in Tsukuba, Japan, gathered ICT experts to share their learnings and experiences in using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in farm management. It focused on development of systems and applications that can be operated by using computers, tablets or smartphones.

Project 3: Roles of cooperatives in response to changes in food consumption trends

Because of the need to better understand how cooperatives play a role in the food industry, this workshop which was held in Taipei, Taiwan, co-organized with the National Training Institute for Farmers' Organization gathered experts in the food industry and coop movement. It became a cross-cultural learning experience in understanding the dynamics of food consumption trends vis-à-vis coop operations.

Project 4: Boar semen application for pork quality improvement

Semen application technology holds a valuable key in everyone’s quest for better pork meat and this seminar which was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, trained pork production farmers and operators of boar semen supply stations and centers on the said technology. The said seminar, which was attended by speakers from eight countries, was simultaneously translated from English to Vietnamese.

Project 5: Developing knowledge management (KM) in agriculture for small-scale farmers

The workshop, which was held in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, gathered KM experts from different countries who shared their expertise and experiences in creating and operating KM systems. They were divided into groups and were asked to develop their own KM maps. They also had an educational trip to two organizations which are already using the KM system in their operations.

Project 6: Developing organic agriculture as new business opportunity for small-scale farmers

FFTC, the National Ilan University and the Ylan Irrigation Association joined forces to conduct this workshop which served as an avenue for the discussion of current developments and policy issues on organic agriculture as well as different approaches and practices implemented by organic farming stakeholders.

Project 7: Protected cultivation of high-value crops under changing climate conditions

The workshop, which was held at the MARDI headquarters in Malaysia, gathered 17 speakers from 11 countries, all of whom shared their knowledge and experiences in building greenhouses suitable for their own respective environments.

Project 8: FFTC Agricultural Policy Platform  (FFTC-AP) (Year 5)

The fifth year of the AP project has made some progress enhancing the qualities of articles by improving the review process and more interactions with contracted partners.  In 2017, there have been 124 articles uploaded articles with 7,421 registered visitors from different parts of the world. The website also has its own interactive function.

Project 9: Enhancing collaborative research network on the control of dragon fruit diseases and pests in south east and south Asia

In line with the recommendations in 2016 to form a collaborative research and development (R&D) on the control of pests and diseases in dragon fruit, and organizing committee has been set up to plan and create a network which will address the other issues of the dragon fruit industry. It will consist of dragon fruit experts and fruit enthusiasts in the region.

FFTC publications and website on Asian agriculture

FFTC operates and maintains a website both in Chinese and English versions. The FFTC agricultural policy platform also has another website. All publications for the year, except for the annual report, are published electronically and uploaded in the website. For this year, these consist of four newsletters, 10 extension bulletins and five technical bulletins. These publications are collected from various workshops and seminars for the year.

In the FFTC-PCAARRD joint international training workshop in the Philippines,
Knowledge Management becomes the focus of  attention as both organizations help participants understand and
have a better appreciation of using KM in agriculture.

 

The ever growing organic food market is one of the reasons why FFTC,
the National Ilan University and the Ylan Irrigation Association collaborate to gather experts from several Asian countries and
organize a workshop entitled “Developing Organic Agriculture as New Business Opportunity for Small-scale Farmers."”

 


Greenhouse technology takes center stage as FFTC and MARDI hold a regional workshop on
“Protected Cultivation of High-Value Crops under Climate Conditions.” Fifty-five participants from 11 countries
shared their knowledge on various innovations and other possibilities in building greenhouses.