BANGKOK, Thailand—The initiatives of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) under the “Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Asia and Pacific Islands through Strengthened Agricultural Advisory Services” (SAAS) were front and center during a meeting with Asia-Pacific counterparts and the project proponents.
ATI officials were part of the Philippine delegation present at the project meeting, along with representatives from the governments of Bangladesh and Fiji Islands, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and the Asia-Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services Network (APIRAS).
Engr. Renato dela Cruz, chief of the ATI Partnerships and Accreditation Division, presented SAAS accomplishments in the Philippines as well as the directional activities for Year Two of the project. He shared details about the initial dialogues with the Department of Interior and Local Government for the possible inclusion of the agriculture sector in the Seal of Good Local Governance.
Meanwhile, ATI Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Training Center Director Arlene Flores discussed their training interventions as part of their efforts to complement the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP). She also noted the after-training support they provide to sustain the activities of the project.
CHARMP is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), like the SAAS project, and spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in CAR.
During the Regional Learning Event and Experience Sharing on the “Best Practices in Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) in Asia and the Pacific Islands”, CHARMP planning officer Czarina Pangket talked about the participatory approach adopted for the project.
“Impacts are better felt when people are involved and given the sense of ownership in every step of the implementation of the project,” she said.
The regional learning event was spearheaded by APIRAS in coordination with SEARCA. APIRAS oversees the Asian sub-regional component of the SAAS project.
Over 30 representatives from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji Islands, Bangladesh, India, Uzbekistan, Laos, South Korea, and the Philippines, as well as affiliates from Australia and South Africa, convened for the event held at the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand on July 30-31, 2018.
In October, the annual conference of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services will be held in South Korea to continue to expand AAS to all farmers.—With report from Zarette Baniya, SAAS Project Associate