STUTTGART, Germany – A Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) delegation joined experts, students, and practitioners to tackle various perspectives, solutions, and challenges to global food security and trade at the World Food Day Colloquium held here on 16 October 2019.
The colloquium, with the theme “Food Security and Trade in the Period of Change and Innovation,” is an annual event organized by the Food Security Center (FSC) of the University of Hohenheim.
Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, SEARCA Program Head for Research and Development, presented the Southeast Asian experience on the enablers of inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains that contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in the region.
Dr. Orencio has drawn lessons from SEARCA’s various initiatives under the umbrella theme of inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD). He emphasized the importance of linking smallholder farmers to the commercial food systems and analyzing areas for policy intervention and enterprise development to address weak links in the value chain.
Through the Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region (ATMI-ASEAN) Project, Dr. Orencio discussed enabling activities and policies that facilitate the integration of smallholder farmers in regional agri-food markets. This includes technical assistance and capacity-building activities of ASEAN Member States in program planning and policy development concerning priority crops and livestock.
Among the key insights from the project is the importance of involving policymakers and stakeholders from planning to implementation and transforming research results into relevant value-adding policies and policy measures. Strategic networking and linkages for financial, technical, institutional and market support have also been cited as key in agricultural innovation and transformation. This includes working closely with like-minded organizations, national governments, and universities.
With Dr. Orencio at the colloquium were Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, head for Graduate Education and Institutional Development, and Mr. Sonny P. Pasiona, Project Development and Technical Services Staff.
On 15 October 2019, Dr. Cuaresma and Mr. Pasiona also attended the FSC Annual Planning Meeting where SEARCA’s key accomplishments for FSC-funded initiatives were presented.
For 2019, FSC supported a short course on cropping system models for climate impact assessment and planetary health, a regional workshop on pasture and forage crops, a regional forum on the fundamentals of halal toward food security, a summer school on transformative changes in agriculture and food systems, and an integrative forum on food and nutrition security for Southeast Asia.
In September 2019, FSC Director Dr. Reiner Doluschitz, also visited SEARCA and gave a seminar on ICT’s in agriculture. Since 2009, SEARCA has been a strategic partner of FSC, one of five excellence centers of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) program "EXCEED - Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation." FSC builds international networks on food security for the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.