SEARCA will participate in the 6th ASFN Conference on 1-3 June 2015 and in the 9th ASFN Annual Meeting on 4-5 June 2015 at Inle Lake, Shan State, Myanmar. The Center will be represented by Dr. Bessie Burgos, Program Head of the Research and Development Department (RDD), Ms. Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist of RDD, and Ms. Amy M. Lecciones, Regional Program Coordinator of the ASFN Strategic Response Fund or ASRF. The ASFN Annual Conference and Meeting is one of the flagship activities of the ASFN where more than 200 participants from the government, civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners, private sector, and academic institutions in ASEAN countries gather to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on social forestry as it relates to climate change. This year’s theme of the Conference is “ASEAN Economic Community and its Interrelationships with Community Livelihoods and Environment Conservation.”
SEARCA and the Yezin Agricultural University (YAU) based in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar are jointly organizing the Seed Fund for Research and Training (SFRT) Grantees Forum to be held in YAU on 29 May 2015. Four grantees from Myanmar will present their research results and one of its two grantees for the current fiscal year will present her research plan. The forum is expected to be attended by the faculty, staff and students of the university, personnel from the Ministry of Agricultural and Irrigation of Myanmar (MOAI), and other interested parties.
CLARK, Pampanga, Philippines – Dr. Jose M. Yorobe, Jr. and Ms. Pilipinas M. Luis bag the best paper award Socio-economics Category at the 23rd Federation of Crop Science Societies of the Philippines (FCSSP) Conference for their paper titled Improving the Agricultural Insurance Program to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change: Evidence from Corn Farmers in the Philippines. The Conference was held on 11-15 May 2015 at the Hotel Stotsenberg. The winning paper presents the results of the SEARCA-funded study “Improving the Corn Insurance Program to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change”, with Dr. Yorobe as the principal researcher.
LOS BAÑOS, Philippines – The regional ICT-Asia program of France will hold a two-day conference at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) here on 25-26 May 2015 to enhance the capability of Asian countries in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).
KITAKYUSHU CITY, Japan – The Eco-town Visit is an important capacity building component of the project being implemented by SEARCA entitled TA-8493 PHI: Climate Resilience and Green Growth in Critical Watersheds (46441-001), which is spearheaded by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR). The Eco-town Visit of the Philippine delegation started at the Kitakyushu Eco-town Center in Japan on 18 May 2015.
HANOI, Vietnam – The Regional Consultation Workshop towards an Umbrella Program on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CChAM) in Southeast Asia (SEA) for an Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ISARD) was held at Fortuna Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12-14 May 2015.
Research and Development Generating information, knowledge, lessons, and insights that will influence policies, investments, trade, and other actions that will promote competitive agriculture, as well as inclusive and sustainable ARD. Read More
Knowledge Management Promoting a learning culture, knowledge creation, knowledge-sharing and use, with a predominant focus on the broad strategic theme of ISARD. Read More
“Agritourism is not for everyone, it’s a niche product but it has a lot of potential”, asserted Prof. Eli Paolo Fresnoza, Assistant Professor at UP’s Asian Institute of Tourism during SEARCA’s Agriculture and Development Seminar Series on 5 July 2011 at the Drilon Hall.
As a hybrid concept fusing together the elements of the tourism and agriculture industries, agritourism can be harnessed as a form of special interest tourism focusing on the unique travel experiences and activities that people can have in agricultural settings. When people travel, it is the attraction or experience that people go for; if food and beverage, accommodation and transportation are included in the package, even a farm can be a tourist destination. Prof. Fresnoza explained that agritourism is sustainable tourism as it marries the concept of enjoyment with resource management, community empowerment, cooperation, fair trade and diversification. Moreover, agritourism does not need large capital investment outlay because many existing farm sites just need to be enhanced.
In 2002, with the vision of the Philippines becoming the premier agritourism destination in Asia, the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) worked with the UP Asian Institute of Tourism on a manual that identified initial agritourism sites all over the country such as the C & B Orchid Farm in San Rafael, Bulacan, Sonya’s Secret Garden in Alfonso, Cavite, Oroverde in Guimaras, and Del Monte Plantation in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. In recent years, more agritourism sites have been developed including Bohol Bee Farm in Dauis, Bohol, Dragon Fruit Farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte and The Farm at San Benito, Batangas.
As the agritourism sector is still largely private-sector-driven, a few challenges to meeting agritourism’s potential in the Philippines include confusion on which government agency will lead the potential (Is it DOT or DA?), and limited standardization and accreditation. Prof. Fresnoza put forward a few specific recommendations to meet these challenges. These include: education and curriculum development in secondary and post-secondary schools, improvement of access to capital, technical training and accreditation and certification, setting up of an agritourism center for research, development and innovation as well as an agritourism destination marketing bureau.
“Harnessing agritourism opportunities is key to regional development”, Prof. Fresnoza reiterated. This can be done in two ways. One is the bottom-up approach, where established farms approach DOT and DA to help them market and promote the experiences they offer. The other is the top-down approach, where through training and financial grants, the two departments help farms that have potential but lack the capability to market their destinations.
DISCLAIMER: The point of view taken by this article is entirely that of the presenter's and does not reflect in any way, SEARCA’s position.