- Newsletter 208: FFTC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- FFTC responds to the COVID-19 crisis
The ongoing global pandemic of corona virus disease (COVID-19) has halted all activities worldwide. Countries went on lockdown, businesses and academic institutions were closed. Even the agriculture sector got disrupted impacting local food systems and posing risks to households and food security. FFTC’s activities for 2020 were also affected by the ongoing pandemic. The following is a letter from FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang on how the Center is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear FFTC Friends and Partners,
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and affected practically all industry activities all over the world. We at FFTC have not been spared by the disruptions. Just like all developmental organizations, we are trying our best to cope with the situation and viewing everything as a challenge while making sure that the safety and health of our co-workers are still our top priority.
Out of our 11 projects for 2020, we have already postponed one workshop which was originally scheduled in June to next year. For the rest of our activities, we have planned the following contingencies:
1. Our FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting will be conducted on July 21, 2020 via videoconference. The FFTC management has requested the use of the videoconference facilities of one of the bureaus of Taiwan's Council of Agriculture - the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Quarantine (BAPHIQ), whose management very kindly and willingly allowed us to use their facilities for the three-hour meeting. Together with our TAC members from Taiwan, we will be at the BAPHIQ headquarters, while our other TAC members from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will join us online.
2. This September, our “2020 Dragon Fruit Workshop and Steering Committee Meeting—Dragon Fruit Value Chain for Global Market” will also be conducted via videoconference and we are planning to have a live mainstream of the two-day event, half-day of which will be devoted to the conduct of the Dragon Fruit Network’s Steering Committee meeting to formulate its next phase (2021-2023) project proposal. The workshop’s educational trip will be conducted prior to the workshop with the Taiwan participants joining the field exposure. An edited video recording of the field trip will also be shown and discussed during the videoconference.
3. In October, our joint one-day symposium with the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Kasetsart University (KU) on “Smart Food Value Chain – The Solution to Asia’s Food Distribution,” will also be held online with NARO speakers livestreaming from Tokyo and the other speakers joining in from their respective countries.
4. In November, we are also conducting our joint symposium with the Taiwan Livestock Research Institute, with contributions from the British Office and The Netherlands Office in Taipei on “The Practice and Benefits of Circular Agriculture in Waste Reducing and Recycling.” The event will be held live at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center back to back with the “Asia Agri-Tech Expo and Forum” organized by Informa Markets. It will also be conducted online for participating country representatives who still cannot travel to Taiwan. There will also be an exhibit of research highlights and the latest technologies on circular agriculture featuring crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry.
For our other activities, we have a wait-and-see attitude. If the situation in the region gets better, we may have to push through with our original plans. However if the travel ban continues in some countries in the region, we are already preparing our other projects to make that online transition and adapt the videoconference mode as a way to conduct our other activities for the rest of the year.
While face-to-face workshops and seminars will have to take a backseat for the time being, we are planning to produce webinars, infomercials, video blogs and produce more publications as alternative activities. We plan to maximize the use of our websites and the social media to disseminate information.
Business goes on as usual for us and you can check our websites and our FFTC Facebook page for updates. For any inquiries, comments or suggestions, you can also send us an email at email@example.com
Thank you very much, good luck on your present and future activities and please keep safe.
Very truly yours,
SU-SAN CHANG, Ph.D.
In November, the Center is conducting its joint symposium with the Taiwan Livestock Research Institute, with contributions from the British Office and The Netherlands Office in Taipei on “The Practice and Benefits of Circular Agriculture in Waste Reducing and Recycling.”
Educational trips conducted in Taiwan will be video recorded, edited and will be shown and discussed in the videoconferences.