On the occasion of our 50th Anniversary, I am very honored to serve as the 13th Director of the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) for the Asian and Pacific Region, an information Center whose mission is to collect and disseminate agricultural technologies and policies to help empower the small-scale Asian farmers. We would like to congratulate the many men and women who have in one way or another, been a part of this Center during its five-decade existence. This of course includes the people who first conceived the idea of creating an international organization devoted to helping the Asian farmers improve agricultural productivity and the quality of their lives through information dissemination of timely and relevant agricultural technologies and policies. At the same time, we also have to salute the past and present management and staff of FFTC who have devoted and dedicated so much of their time and energy in working for the Center.
Of course FFTC would not have possibly survived and endured 50 years if not for the support of its stakeholders, partner country representatives and heads of agricultural organizations—all of whom believed in the vision and mission of the Center and shared its commitment to empower Asian farmers through science and information.
To date, there have been a total of 414 seminars, workshops and training courses which FFTC has organized and conducted in different parts of the Asian and Pacific Region. These activities have been attended by more than 300,000 experts and technicians all over the world and were all carried out and conducted in cooperation with international, regional or national agricultural agencies. Results and recommendations, as well as important information tackled in FFTC’s workshops, seminars and training courses have been disseminated to various forms of media through technical reports, the Center’s various websites (in English, Chinese, the FFTC-AP Platform and the DFNet website) and the social media. As a consequence, FFTC has helped in contributing towards solving problems encountered in such fields as crop production, fishery, livestock farming, disease and pest control, environmental protection, agricultural policy, etc.
Meanwhile, there are many challenges in our regional agricultural community. The impacts of climate change, lack of agricultural manpower and natural resources, and food insecurity with the growing population are just some of the many issues which our Center is trying to address in the conduct of our activities. We are glad that this year, we have already finished drafting our “Strategic Action Plan Focusing on Holding our Workshops and Seminars in 2021-2024.” This action plan, which is basically made up of five program themes, will be the main guide that will help us prioritize our goals, maximize our resources, increase our effectiveness and help us make better decisions. This means that all our major activities for this year and the succeeding four years, will be underpinned based on the following five program themes: 1) increasing productivity by strengthening agricultural R&D and investments; 2) enhancing food value chains and consumer oriented production; 3) promoting climate-smart and resilient agriculture; 4) fostering circular agriculture; and 5) strengthening resource management and rural development.
As we all gather to celebrate FFTC’s momentous 50th year, the Center management remains committed to meet the various challenges of another decade and beyond. Despite uncertainties and difficulties, we envision a future with more empowered farmers, advanced science, modern and sustainable agriculture. We are foreseeing the rise of farmer entrepreneurs, more active women and young people joining the agricultural field. We share the dream of other international agricultural NGOs that see a future where farmers’ livelihoods are improved, where healthy food systems exist and poverty is significantly reduced or eliminated.
We will remain a steadfast partner in the quest towards a more productive, sustainable, efficient and competitive agriculture in the Asian and Pacific Region.
Su-San Chang, Ph.D.