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Home>FFTC Document Database>Annual Reports>FFTC 2018 ANNUAL REPORT>Project 1: The 24th meeting of the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

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Seminars and workshops

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

Location: Great Roots Resort, Sanxia, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Date: July 23-26
Participating countries: 7 (Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
Participants: 8 TAC members and the FFTC management and staff

Every two years since 1977, agricultural leader representatives of FFTC’s partner countries meet to evaluate the Center’s past programs, identify needs for future programs and give advice on how to strengthen FFTC’s cooperation with other agencies in the Asia Pacific region. This year’s TAC meeting gathered eight of its 10 members from seven countries in a whole day meeting held in Sanxia, New Taipei City. FFTC Director Dr. Kuo-Ching Lin and Deputy Director Dr. Akira Hasebe took turns in presenting a review of FFTC’s mission and vision, the various activities that the Center undertook over the past two years, creating new opportunities for partnerships and the strategic action plan for 2019-2020.

Major highlights and recommendations

Client satisfaction surveys, stronger collaboration with the private sector and improved visibility are just some of the recommendations and suggestions of the eight TAC members who attended the meeting. Dr. Masa Iwanaga, President of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), who was unanimously voted as Chairman of the committee, were very pleased with the presentations delivered. However, the JIRCAS President added that the TAC members feel that the FFTC management should constantly do an evaluation of its projects and activities and check on its weak and strong points. To build a more dynamic Center, the TAC members also suggested strategizing and thinking of creative ways to forge stronger collaboration with the private sector, the global network of international NGOs and other development organizations. They also recommended to the Center management to think of ways to further improve its visibility through promotional activities like the use of social media and other ways to increase its website access.

Overall, Dr. Iwanaga concluded that FFTC is doing well and is in the right direction. But just like any dynamic organizations, it should not rest on its successes and accomplishments but constantly seek ways to move forward and improve its performance. 

After the one-day meeting on July 24, the TAC members had a one-day educational trip to the various hi-tech and recreational farms in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties in Taiwan. These include the Swiss Country Village, the YesHealth iFarm and Agri Biotechnology, the Tao-City Vegetable Agricultural Cooperatives, the Nanpu Community Development Association and the Sanshui Soil and Water Conservation Outdoor Classroom.

Below are the seven major recommendations made by the TAC members:
1. Develop a four-year strategic rolling action plan instead of the usual two years and a two-year work plan cycle. As much as possible, this should be supported by a ball park budget plan as well;
2. Conduct some level of impact assessment through client satisfaction surveys in the website or an evaluation of the workshops and seminars;
3. Prioritize and consolidate the list of workshops presented. Consider if this can be a basis for the four-year plan;
4. Check the nine recommendations made in 2016 and see if some of the suggestions can still be acted on;
5. Develop stronger collaboration with other international and local NGOs and the private sector;
6. Make a clear linkage between the TAC and the FFTC Executive Board; and
7. Improve the Center’s visibility and increased website access through promotional activities

The FFTC management’s reply to the TAC’s recommendations

1. The FFTC management totally agrees to recommendation number one. We will formulate a four-year strategic plan with a corresponding budget and we will make it more comprehensible and consistent;
2. Each of our current workshop and seminar for the past years has been evaluated by our participants through a leaflet survey. We will continue doing this and re-design our questionnaire to make it more simple and friendly;
3. We will prioritize and consolidate as advised and we will also ask the TAC members to recommend topics which they feel will be more relevant to the needs of farmers in the partner countries;
4. We are constantly checking on the nine recommendations of the past TAC meeting in 2016. Some of those we have already been doing. But some we admittedly have been putting on hold due to financial constraints and lack of expertise and manpower;
5. This is a very important recommendation. We are aware that we have many ways to do it. Some through capacity building and the others through inviting members of the private sector to join and participate in our activities. We will initiate more ways to involve the international and national NGOs and members of the private sector in our activities.
6. We will report this recommendation to the Executive Board and we will ask their permission if the Chairman of the TAC (Dr. Iwanaga) can report their recommendations during the Executive Board Meeting; and
7. We agree 100% to this recommendation. We will mobilize our staff and draw a concrete and workable promotional plan to make the Center more visible so that more people will know about FFTC activities.

FFTC has 10 TAC members coming from seven countries. They are the following: Dr. Atsuro Matsuda, Vice President, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO); Dr. Masa Iwanaga, President and Director General, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS); Dr. Taek-ryoun Kwon, Director, International Technical Cooperation Centre, Rural Development Administration, Korea; YBhg. Datuk Dr. Mohammad Roff Bin Mohd Noor, Director General, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI); Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, Acting Executive Director, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD); Dr. Edna Samar, Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Director, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Department of Agriculture, Philippines; Dr. Junne-Jih Chen, Director General, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Council of Agriculture; Dr. Chung-Hsiu Hung, Director General, Department of International Affairs, Council of Agriculture; Dr. Siree Chaiseri, Vice President for Research, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Kasetsart University, Thailand; Dr. Nguyen Hong Son, President, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (represented by Dr. Nguyen Xuan Lai, Director General, Soil and Fertilizers Research Institute). Dr. Reynaldo Ebora from the Philippines and Dr. Siree from Thailand were not able to attend the meeting.

The FFTC Strategic Action Plan for 2019-2020

As a renewal of the Center’s commitment to respond to the technological needs of the farmers in the Asian Pacific region amidst the constant changing global environment, the FFTC management has come up with its own strategic action plan for 2019-2020. This was presented to the members of the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (FFTC-TAC) the FFTC Working Group and the Executive Board.

Five themes underpin the Center's Strategic Action plan for 2019-2020:
1. Intelligent agriculture by ICT – farmers in the 21st century have access to Information Communication Technologies (ICT), GPS, soil scanning, data management, soil media and the internet. FFTC therefore plans to organize more activities that will tap the expertise of people involved in intelligent agriculture. It hopes to gather more farm extension workers and work with the National Agriculture Research System (NARS) in the region to further enhance the knowledge on the role that ICT plays in raising crops and animals.

2. Value-added agriculture – defined as the changing of raw agricultural products into something new through packaging, processing, cooling, drying, extracting or any type of process that makes the product from each original form, FFTC hopes to carry out projects that could help the farmers develop their own market niches through development of training programs on smart food systems, food processing, food safety and food consumer habits and preferences, among others.

3. Climate-smart agriculture – FFTC intends to pursue activities that deal with climate-smart agriculture. It hopes that through collecting information on practical technologies and best practices, it can help mitigate GHG emission, promote low carbon farming, adapt and build resilience to climate change and increase agricultural activity.

4. Environmentally friendly technologies – the Center is keen in promoting technologies that are ecologically sound, socially equitable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. In line with the Satoyama initiative of realizing societies that are in harmony with nature and develop socio-economic activities that are aligned with the natural processes, FFTC aims to collect and disseminate information on green technologies for the production of safe and high-quality food, production of non-staple crops that are highly promising sources of income for farming communities, and enhancement of rural entrepreneurship.

5. Rural resource management – the term basically covers the management of farmlands, irrigation, environment, organic resources and the rural community. In line with this, the Center aims to gather experts and ask for their support in designing seminars and workshop along the lines of rural revitalization, agri-tourism and recreation.

Eight of the 10 members of FFTC’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) attend this important bi-annual meeting. Among other things, the TAC members emphasize the need of the Center to adapt, align and attune itself to the call of the times. 

FFTC Director Dr. Kuo-Ching Lin and Deputy Director Akira Hasebe share the stage by delivering presentations on “A Review of FFTC’s 2017-2018 Activities,” “Creating New Opportunities for Partnerships,” and FFTC Strategic Action Plan for 2019-2020.”

Dr. Masa Iwanaga (right), President of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) is unanimously voted as the Chairman of the TAC during the afternoon session. To his left is Korean TAC member Dr. Taek-Ryoun Kwon, Director, International Cooperation Centre, of the Rural Development Administration (RDA).