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The Asian and Pacific region has once more asserted its importance in the agricultural arena in 2018. According to the Asia Insurance Review, Asia’s agricultural sector holds the peak position in the food pyramid for the world with 2.2 billion people relying on agriculture for their livelihood. Similarly, in the same year, there was also a big shake up in the organic farming community and consumers’ voices were heard collectively clamoring for healthier and safer foods.


On the other hand, the effects of climate change related issues continued to be felt not just across the region but also globally with a series of natural disasters disrupting the food system. The Asian Development Bank has cited in several reports the need for cleaner and more disaster-resilient technologies to address the adverse impacts of climate change.


For several years now, FFTC has been initiating activities to help in its own humble way, the pertinent agricultural issues in the region. It has been conducting consultations with experts and organizing workshops, seminars, symposia and training courses on topics related to climate change, food safety and security, green agriculture, modern technologies and the dwindling population of young farmers.


This year, the Center, with the help of its country partners, has organized and conducted the following projects to address the relevant agricultural issues in the region.

 

Project 1: The 24th meeting of the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

Held bi-annually, this year’s TAC meeting gathered eight of its 10 members from seven countries in a whole day meeting to evaluate the Center’s performance and chart its future directions. The meeting yielded seven sound recommendations from the TAC members.

Project 2: Promoting rice farmer’s market through value-adding activities

FFTC co-organized this international seminar in Thailand together with the Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University, the Agriculture Economics Society of Thailand and the Thailand Research Fund. The seminar aimed to present and discuss rice production, rice standards and specifications, consumer preferences, etc.

Project 3: Strengthening the prevention strategies and early warning systems of agricultural disasters through ICTs

The Center, together with the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), gathered 14 experts from six countries to discuss the reduction of damage caused by natural hazards like floods, droughts and typhoons through adopting prevention measures and share information on wise management of crops using innovative disaster prevention technologies.

Project 4: Soil and plant tissue analysis: testing methods, QA/QC, data interpretation and application

Fifteen soil and plant laboratory experts from nine countries went to Taiwan to further enhance their skills on the determination of nutrient contents in soil and plant tissue proficiency testing program. FFTC and the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) jointly organized this workshop to upgrade inter-laboratory comparison (proficiency tests) in order to get certification and accreditation for analytic quality laboratories.

Project 5: Quality assurance and ISTA accreditation for beginners

FFTC joined forces with the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and the Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station (TSIPS) to organize this workshop. The aim is to disseminate information on the quality assurance and management skills provided by ISTA Accreditation Standard at the international level in order to enable ISTA certification for seed testing laboratories in each country as required by the international trade of agricultural seeds.

Project 6: Fostering increased engagement and capacitating the youth on agri-entrepreneurship

Sixteen speakers from 10 countries, most of whom are young agri-entrepreneurs, gathered in Malaysia to present and share their knowledge and experiences in managing their farms and teaching young people to appreciate agribusiness. The joint efforts of FFTC-DOST-PCAARRD and MARDI further led to discussions on the best practices of young agri-entrepreneurs in the region.

Project 7: Smart use of fertilizers for environmentally friendly agriculture

FFTC, together with the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TDARES), gathered 18 speakers from eight countries and held a workshop in Taiwan to exchange knowledge and experiences on smart fertilization technologies and consolidate information and skills on the promotion of environmentally friendly fertilizer use.

Project 8: Climate smart agriculture for the small-scale farmers in the Asian and Pacific region

The Center, together with the NARO and the Monsoon Asia Agro-Environmental Research Consortium (MARCO) held a symposium in Tsukuba, Japan, in order to promote extensive research and development on the environment especially where it concerns sustainable agriculture. Fifteen speakers from eight countries delivered presentations and discussed issues related to climate change research and its impact on agriculture.

Project 9: FFTC Agricultural Policy Platform  (FFTC-AP) (Year 6)

The sixth year of the AP project further saw the development of the AP website. As of December 12, 2018, there have been 859 articles reviewed and uploaded. The website also has its own interactive function which allows readers to interact with each other and with article authors for knowledge sharing on related topics.

Project 10: Enhancing collaborative research network on the control of dragon fruit diseases and pests in Southeast and South Asia

For the third time, dragon fruit experts and enthusiasts of tropical fruits from different parts of Asia met in Taipei to share their knowledge and experiences in the production and marketing of this promising tropical fruit. But more than that, they united to form a regional network which hopefully could be committed to information sharing and development of collaborative research programs.

FFTC publications and website on Asian agriculture

This year, the FFTC newsletter was printed in its hard copy again and mailed to the representatives of its partner countries and agencies. The rest of the publications, except for the annual report, were published electronically and uploaded in the FFTC website. These publications were collected from various workshops and seminars and packaged into several documentation formats like extension and technical bulletins and workshop proceedings.