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Jul. 02, 2020

FFTC: Recollections and memories - Nguyen Van Bo, Former President, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences

FFTC: Recollections and memories - Nguyen Van Bo, Former President, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences


I have visited the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Region (FFTC) for the first time on the 21st of December 1998 as a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD) to Taiwan. We were received by Dr. Torng Chuang Wu and Dr. Iwao Watanabe, FFTC director and deputy director. I considered FFTC to be one of the trusted sources of updated information on agricultural technologies and policies.

Later, I visited FFTC several times, including attending TAC 16 on the 5-6th of June, 2002 and TAC 22 on the 7-8th of July, 2014. I also attended some workshops and conferences organized by FFTC.

The most impressive thing to me when I worked with FFTC was the effectiveness of the organization. With its very limited number of staff (13), the Center has been running many activities, including collecting, exchanging and disseminating/sharing information on agricultural technologies and policy, which made the Center widely recognized not only in the region but also beyond. In addition, the Center has made a strong network, gathering hundreds of scientists and institutions to provide updated information, co-organizing surveys, seminars, workshops/conferences, training courses etc..Lesson learned here is that even though with a small team, the good human resource and wise management mechanism can make the organization strong and effective.

Nowadays, timely information is very important. In another way, those who have information will win the game, so I am very pleased with the way that FFTC sets up its information dissemination activities. Beside publications, training materials, the Center widely uses website and social media like Facebook. More importantly, everyone can access these sources of information free-of-charge, which enables more and more researchers and extension workers and farmers benefits.

During recent years, I have been very interested in the agricultural policy from countries that are posted in the FFTC-AP website, because learning from other countries is very important and help us to make shortcut in agricultural renovation and development.

Through collaboration with FFTC we were able to work with other Taiwanese institutions like National Taiwan University, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Chung-Hsing University...Technologies on shoot-tip grafting of citrus to get Huanglongbing (Greening) disease free seedling or high quality variety of passion fruits have been transferred to Vietnam.

We fully agree with the Center’s Strategic Plan 2019-2020 with five program themes (Intelligent agriculture by ICTs; Value-added agriculture; Climate smart agriculture; Environmentally friendly and Rural resource management). However, we would like to request the FFTC management to pay more attention to food safety and trade technical barriers as well as evaluation of science and technology contribution to agricultural production, so that we can identify the most effective factor to invest.

Now, FFTC is celebrating its 50th anniversary, we wish the Center to become a good and strong international agricultural technological and policy information body in the Asian and Pacific Region, helping empowering small-scale farmers in developing countries to “see further by standing on the shoulders of giants” as the English famous physicist Isaac Newton once said.

Nguyen Van Bo, Ph.D.
Former President (2005-2014),
Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences

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