Pundits described agriculture in 2015 as both tumultuous and challenging. The number of hungry people rose to a billion, with two-thirds residing in Asia and the Pacific (ASPAC). Climate change continued to rear its ugly head, with agriculture as one of its most vulnerable sectors affected. An estimated 24 billion tons of soil were lost to erosion. As the world grapples with these challenging issues, advances in agricultural technologies have also been seen to benefit farmers. Satellite technologies have been used to predict crop yields, measure precipitation, etc. The adaption of smart use of fertilizers has also improved crop production and soil conservation.
Through its technology transfer mechanism, FFTC continues to focus on collecting, exchanging and disseminating agricultural information and technology on a full spectrum of farmers’ needs and activities relevant to the ASPAC region. This year, the Center embarked on the following projects addressing global agriculture’s most pressing issues.
FFTC external review
As recommended by the FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the Center conducted its first external review in ten years. The FFTC management sought the help of three agriculture and management experts to assess the Center’s performance for the past five years and formulate recommendations on what appropriate courses of actions the Center should undertake.
Integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures for small-scale rice cultivation
This participatory workshop served as knowledge sharing and cross-learning experience among rice scientists and climate change experts as they presented studies and discussed integration measures on climate change mitigation efforts for rice-based agriculture.
Cultivating the young generation of farmers with farmland policy implications
This participatory international workshop focused on the sharing of experiences of different Asian countries regarding farmland policies in relation to the challenges of encouraging the young generation of farmers against the aging problems in the rural areas.
Improving marketing efficiency—the role of agricultural cooperatives
This seminar provided a forum for a variety of specialists to present the role of agricultural cooperatives in addressing food marketing efficiency in each participant’s respective country. It gave the participants the opportunity to deliberate the value of agricultural cooperatives in the pursuit of empowering the small-scale farmers to compete with large-scale consumption sites.
Risk management of agrochemicals through novel technologies for food safety in Asia
This workshop held in Thailand gathered entomologists and pesticide experts from different countries who shared their knowledge on the latest technologies addressing food safety. Discussions centered around the assessment and monitoring of agrochemical utilization and organic farming in different Asian countries.
Smart use of fertilizers to improve crop production and soil conservation
The five-day intensive training course introduced the extension specialists from the Asian Pacific region the concepts, theories and applications of using fertilizers the smart way. There were keynote and oral presentations, lab practices, field studies and discussions on the best way to apply fertilizers in different types of soils planted to different crops and growing in different agro-climatic conditions.
Dairy herd improvement by the use of reproductive biotechnologies
This ten-day training course which was held in the Philippines exposed the trainees, most of whom were veterinarians, to the discipline and technologies of genomics, ovum pick-up (OPU) from live cows, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET). This combination of technologies has been proven helpful in taking cows to the next level of genetic improvement.
Asia-Pacific information platform on agricultural policy (Year 3)
The third year of the AP project further saw the development of the AP website facing the challenge of sustaining the agricultural policy articles submitted by the contracted partners. As of November, 2015, there have been 187 articles uploaded with 1,760 registered visitors from different parts of the world.
Improving pitaya production and marketing
FFTC joined hands with SOFRI and TARI to organize this international workshop held in Kaoshiung, Taiwan to share the latest advances in understanding the constraints limiting pitaya production and marketing as well as newly developed doable technologies such as optimal spacing, trellising, disease diagnosis, IPM, etc.
Establishment of database for tropical fruit sector development in Southeast Asia (Year 2)
Two major events were carried in the second year of this R&D project: The workshop on improving pitaya production and marketing. Second is the invitation of experts from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to prepare a report based on a critical, constructive analysis on the published and grey literature on the occurrence, prevention and research situation of diseases and insects of major tropical fruit crops.
FFTC publications and website on Asian agriculture
All publications for this year, except for the annual report, were all published electronically and uploaded in the FFTC website. These publications were collected from various workshops and seminars and packaged into several documentation formats like extension and technical bulletins, workshop proceedings and newsletters.
Members of the FFTC external review team visit one of the laboratories at Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) in Taichung and observe an on-going training on Rapid Bio Assay of Pesticide Residues (RBPR). Through the years, FFTC has partnered with TARI in a lot of training seminars on RBPR. Photo shows (standing from L to R), Dr. Ching Hua-Kao of TARI, external review member Dr. Roberto Rañola, external review team leader Dr. Samson C.S. Tsou and FFTC senior accountant Ms. Joyce Hsu.
In 2015, Director Yu-Tsai Huang (2nd from left) and COA Deputy Minister James Sia (middle) visited the Philippine Rice Research Institute. Secretary Proceso Alcala of the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (right) welcomed the Taiwanese guests.
This year, FFTC conducted a training course on “Smart use of fertilizers to improve crop production and soil conservation.” The course introduced the extension specialists in the Asian Pacific region the concepts, theories and applications of using fertilizers the smart way.
In July, 2015, PCAARRD and PCC partnered with FFTC and conducted a ten-day training course on “Dairy herd improvement by the use of reproductive biotechnologies.” Held in Nueva, Ecija, Philippines, the training course exposed the 17 participants, most of whom are veterinarians, to the discipline and technologies of genomics, ovum pick-up (OPU) from live cows, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET).