The 24th meeting of the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was held on July 24, 2018 in Sansia, Taiwan. TAC Meeting consisted of an opening session, a welcome remark by FFTC Director and his presentation on the Center’s Vision and Mission. It was followed by more presentations from both Director and Deputy Director on “A Review of FFTC’s 2017-2018 Activities,” “Creating new Opportunities for Partnerships,” and “FFTC Strategic Plan for 2019-2020.” In the afternoon, it was the TAC members’ turn to react and make comments on the presentations delivered through a 120-minute open discussion. They were also asked to make a brief report on the agricultural status of their respective countries. This was followed by a one-hour closed-door session when the TAC members brainstormed and formulated their recommendations to the FFTC management. The elected Chairman of this particular session, Dr. Masa Iwanaga, President of JIRCAS, reported the recommendations to the FFTC management, after which the Center Director, Dr. Kuo-Ching Lin responded.
The TAC members were pleased and impressed with the presentations. They also expressed their positive impressions on the past and current activities of the Center. Their overall conclusion is that FFTC is doing well and is in the right direction.
The following day, the TAC members embarked on a field study/ educational tour to some of the outstanding farms in Taiwan’s Taoyuan and Hsinchu areas, some of which are outstanding templates for agricultural tourism. This includes a visit to the Swiss country village, the YesHealth iFarm and Agri Biotechnology Company, the Tao-City Veg Agricultural Cooperatives, the Nanpu Community Development Association, and the Sanshui Soil and Water Conservation Outdoor Classroom.
- 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;
- Conduct some level of impact assessment through client satisfaction surveys in the website or an evaluation of the workshops and seminars;
- Prioritize and consolidate the list of workshops presented. Consider if this can be a basis for the four-year plan;
- Check the nine recommendations made in 2016 and see if some of the suggestions can still be acted on;
- Develop stronger collaboration with other international and local NGOs and the private sector;
- Make a clear linkage between the TAC and the FFTC Executive Board; and
- Improve the Center’s visibility and increased website access through promotional activities.
The FFTC management’s reply to the TAC’s recommendations
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
- 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
- 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.