Southeast Asian AgriMuseumand Learning Center on Agricultural and Rural DevelopmentBackground and Rationale
Agriculture remains the backbone of most Southeast Asian economies and the primary source of livelihood of their rural communities. Some experts have even asserted the region's potentials as a possible food basket of the world. The dawn of the ASEAN Economic Community and its post-2015 challenges present opportunities to highlight the potential contribution of agriculture not only to food and nutrition security for the ASEAN population, but also in helping feed the world.
In pursuit of advancing agricultural and rural development (ARD) in the ASEAN region, a wider appreciation of Southeast Asian agriculture among the youth and the general public who matter to policy and decision makers will contribute to an enabling environment conducive to innovation for inclusive and sustainable ARD. Designed to appeal to various users, the learning center addresses the waning interest in agriculture among the youth and general public and is hoped to draw to policymakers' attention the importance of ARD in the 11 SEAMEO member countries.
In this light, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) invites partners to collaborate on establishing a Southeast Asian AgriMuseum and Learning Center on ARD. The SEA AgriMuseum will deepen understanding and appreciation of ARD in the region and interpret its research and issues of the day.Objectives
The proposed SEA AgriMuseum aims to:Advance the science and practice of ARD in Southeast Asia;
Promote awareness on and appreciation of the state of ARD in Southeast Asian/ASEAN nations and region as a whole; and
Stimulate discussion, learning, innovation, and collaboration for inclusive and sustainable ARD in Southeast Asia.
Intended Users and Uses
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum will be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of users including youths/students, farmers, development practitioners, policy and decision makers, researchers, media professionals, and the general public who need to know and appreciate more deeply the role of agriculture in their own lives and in national development. The museum will serve as a showcase of science-based knowledge, innovations, and recommendations for an inclusive and sustainable ARD in Southeast Asia in a fun and relaxed setting.
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum will be an exhibition experience that allows a visitor to:"Enter into" the ARD landscape from the uplands to the lowlands including coastal communities, appreciating the cross-ecosystem character of Southeast Asian agriculture
Journey through each of the 11 SEAMEO-member countries via "Windows to Southeast Asia," each one a portal to the origins and peculiarities of ARD in the country of focus
Grasp intimately the current challenges and issues in ARD in Southeast Asia, including climate change, food security, rural poverty and social inclusion, biotechnology, biodiversity, and environmental sustainability
Appreciate successes and solutions in ARD in the region, such as the conversion of poppy-growing into food producing indigenous communities and sufficiency economy model farms in Thailand, climate change adaptation and mitigation ecotown models, agribusiness and agritourism showcases, and noteworthy agricultural advances and technologies applied in the region
Emulate ARD movers who have made an impact on ARD in Southeast Asia, including the late His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and members of his royal family, Dioscoro L. Umali Awardees in Agricultural Development, outstanding farmers and agriculture professionals, among others, during intimate seminars and as immortalized in their memorabilia and publications.
Dr. Tin Htut (center) chaired the OECD-FAO-ASEAN Regional Conference on Policies to Enable Food Security, Agricultural Productivity, and Improved Nutrition held on 14-15 June 2016 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) will honor Dr. Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI), with a special citation during the opening ceremony of the Regional Forum on Farms, Food, and Futures: Toward Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia, which will take place on 7 December 2016 at the SEARCA Headquarters, College, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.
Makati City - Fourteen Southeast Asian nationals received the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship grants through SEARCA to pursue their graduate studies at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for academic year 2016/2017. The DAAD Handover Ceremony was held on 21 November 2016 at the German Club, Makati City. The Ambassador-designate, Dr. Gordon Kricke, handed over the grants during the ceremony. The Ambassador was very pleased to hear the research plans of the grantees, as these were deemed to contribute to the development of their respective countries.
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.