With the status and roles of agriculture constantly changing in the last decade, FFTC's mission is likewise continuously evolving. In addressing current agricultural development issues in the ASPAC region, the Center in 2006 embarked on a cohesive work program addressing issues aimed at ensuring that our small-scale farmers can survive the emerging structural changes in global agriculture, while attaining higher standards of farming, improving farm incomes, and increasing farm stability.
The 18th FFTC Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting served as a venue for the TAC members, who are all distinguished agricultural experts and research managers in the Asian and Pacific (ASPAC) region, to provide the much needed guidance in instilling the program and policy direction for the Center to achieve its mission amid emerging trends in global agriculture. In particular, the gathering gave the TAC members an opportunity to impart valuable suggestions and recommendations on the proposed FFTC Strategic Plan for 2007-2011, toward better addressing the gaps, opportunities, as well as the priorities of FFTC in performing its role as a regional information center in the years to come. The valuable inputs from the TAC members during the sharing and deliberations proved to be vital in terms of setting the Center's policy and program directions toward priority and pressing concerns fundamental to the attainment of sustainable agricultural development in the ASPAC region.
The challenge for agricultural cooperatives to play a vital role in enhancing farmers' economy and livelihood has become even greater in the 21st century. Amid rapid changes in global agriculture, technology and trade environment which have persisted since the 1990s, agricultural cooperatives and farmers' organizations are now faced with new emerging needs and challenges from farmers, local communities and markets in the 21st century.
The primary goal of this international seminar was to promote the exchange of knowledge and information on successful innovative cooperative practices in view of this critical transition period. Issues and lessons specific to Asian rural farmers and based on the experiences of cooperative practitioners and policy makers were shared and discussed.
Over the last several decades, considerable progress has been achieved worldwide in the development and application of the area-wide approach (AWA) for the suppression and control of key insect pests, making it an important part of integrated pest management (IPM) systems. Integrated into IPM, the AWA requires that compatible and environmentally friendly control methods are adapted to the agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions of each specific situation. AWA is applied against an entire pest population within a delimited geographic area.
This international symposium addressed and deliberated on: recent trends and approaches in AWA in the ASPAC region; prospects for the development and extension of AWA and control practices that can be adopted by small-scale farm holders; and AWA research and development programs aimed at reaching a free status of damage from target pests in each country.
There is now an increasing demand among consumers for high-quality, eco-friendly, and safe aquaculture products. Hence, it has become more important than ever to adopt innovative technologies and management schemes that will ensure the preservation of the aquaculture ecosystem and its surrounding environment, and which will guarantee food safety or the protection of aquaculture products from any form of hazard or contamination. However, complying with rigid safety requirements has been difficult for small-scale fish farmers, owing to their little knowledge about sustainable aquaculture management as well as some policy/regulation and structural constraints.
This international workshop was organized to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences on improved aquaculture technologies and management system to address the need for eco-friendly production processes and food safety concerns.
Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) now plays a critical role in sustaining the integrity of the environment, and in contributing significantly to the attainment of food self-reliance in many cities in Asia. By 2020, 40-45 percent of the poor in the region is projected to be concentrated in towns and cities, and UPA is deemed as one of the practical solutions to counter food insecurity, environmental pollution, health risks and the eventual decline in the people's quality of life (CGIAR-Urban Harvest 2006). In its broad definition, UPA covers a wide range of interests, from traditional agricultural activities associated with production, processing, marketing, distribution, and consumption — to a number of other benefits and services such as recreation and leisure, economic vitality and business entrepreneurship, and environmental restoration and remediation that occur within city limits.
This international workshop aimed to promote a better understanding of the challenges posed by urbanization, and the way that agriculture in and around cities in Asia can confront those challenges and take advantage of opportunities offered by the urban economy.
A good soil-rhizosphere system is perceived as the basic condition to ensure good crop production and quality. Information on soil-rhizosphere technologies must be shared and exchanged so that each country can develop strategies to ensure good soil fertility, effective fertilizer use, good microorganism population, and crop quality in the soil-rhizosphere system.
The soil rhizosphere workshop was organized primarily for the sharing and exchange among countries in the ASPAC region of recent innovative techniques for efficient crop production and cost-effective fertilizer use under a sustainable management of the soil rhizosphere system. It also aimed to promote an understanding of the dynamics of soil nutrients in the rhizosphere, especially in relation to plant growth, inorganic and organic fertilization, and other cultural practices.
The incidence of introduction of biological invasive alien species worldwide has recently increased along with increases in global trade and human travel, causing great economic damage and ecological impacts. Hence, invasive alien species (IAS) have become an important global concern. Toward this end, the Asian-Pacific Alien Species Database (APASD) was introduced as a means to facilitate accumulation, sharing and monitoring of recent information among countries in order to prevent the spread and damage of IAS.
This international workshop served as a venue for updating the APASD system to make it more functional and user-friendly. This is in line with FFTC's commitment to continue to support the development of the APASD and to organize related programs such as training workshops and seminars in order to improve the functionality of the system for a wider use among countries in the region.
Buffalo has been an integral part of livestock agri-culture in Asia for over 500 years now, producing draft power, milk, meat and hides. There are about 174 million buffaloes in the world, and about 97 percent or 167 million heads are found in Asia. However, despite the economic and social impor-tance of buffalo, its population has been declining, partly due to poor reproductive performance.
This international seminar primarily sought to promote the exchange and sharing of reproductive technologies on buffalo to improve buffalo population. During the seminar, the status and challenges in buffalo production in each country in Asia, as well as its economic and social benefits, were shared and discussed. The activity contributed much to a better understanding and appreciation of reproductive biotechnology techniques for buffalo, toward enhancing the dissemination and application of the technology in the region.
Corn is the second most important crop in the Philippines, comprising about 70 percent of livestock mixed feeds in the country, and is the preferred main staple food of about 12 million Filipinos. About 60 percent of the Philippines' annual corn production is from Mindanao, and of this island's six main corn production areas, the Caraga region has the lowest average yield production of 1.77 MT/hectare in 2005. This is mainly attributed to low adoption of modern corn production technologies and use of low-yielding traditional/inbred varieties by the farmers.
The overall goal of this three-year technology transfer program is to improve the productivity and achieve sustainable production of quality corn in the Caraga region through the extension of modern cultivation techniques and introduction of hybrid corn varieties, with the technical assistance of scientists from Taiwan ROC.
In the last decades, citrus greening disease (HLB) has been devastating citrus orchards in the Asian and Pacific (ASPAC) region, and causing serious losses to the citrus industry. Citrus HLB or greening disease is a serious disease in tropical and subtropical regions like southeast and east Asia. Some reports have indicated that the disease has gradually spread to temperate regions presumably caused by global warming.
Basic information on the evolution of HLB strains in terms of pathogenicity and disease resistance is of primary importance in formulating adequate measures for controlling the HLB disease. This two-year project focused on the investigation of pathological and epidemiological natures of HLB pathogen strains in Taiwan and in other countries in the ASPAC region, particularly in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Citrus HLB and other virus diseases such as citrus tristeza closterovirus (CTV), citrus tatter leaf cappilovirus (CTLV) and citrus exocortis viroid (CEVd) have become serious constraints to the growth of the citrus industry in the ASPAC region in recent decades. These systemic diseases can only be effectively controlled by integrated measures of disease management such as: establishment of virus-free citrus cultivar repository, which is of primary importance in preventing prevalence of the diseases; and precise and rapid disease indexing techniques indispensable for the management of pathogen-free (PF) nursery system.
Under this three-year special project, an advanced Taiwanese technology package will be transferred to countries in the region to help rehabilitate their respective citrus industry. The technology package shall include establishment and application of pathogen-free citrus foundation, and disease-indexing technique for controlling serious epidemic of citrus greening (HLB) and other virus diseases.
FFTC is committed to ensure that the dissemination of agricultural information is focused on the right problem, relevant and useful, involving the right users, and not duplicating the information disse-minated by other organizations. In 2006, the Center published 4 issues of its quarterly Newsletter, 1 annual report, 1 statistical book, 2 books based on seminar/workshop proceedings, and 15 extension and technical bulletins. All these publications were made available free of charge on the Center's website and database, which had more than three million requests during the year.
Also in 2006, the FFTC website underwent major redesign and renovation to make it more user-friendly, and to enhance the Center's technology transfer mission, facilitate interaction and networking among partner institutions within the region, and make possible a more cost-effective way of disseminating practical information to our users, particularly the small-scale farmers.
The status and roles of agriculture have greatly changed in the last decade, and more changes are expected in the future because of two vital factors — technological innovation and globalization in the agriculture sector.
Armed with a greater resolve to effectively and efficiently address the plight of small-scale farmers in the ASPAC region, the Center formulated the FFTC Strategic Plan for 2007-2011 which will henceforth serve as its blueprint in identifying its annual work programs for the next five years, as well as in crafting its policy and institutional strategies toward strengthening its international collaboration and partnerships within the ASPAC region. These and many other initiatives help ensure that FFTC is an effective and dynamic development partner dedicated in its mission to contribute in helping small-scale farmers meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. With the support and commitment of all its member countries and partners in the ASPAC region, it is a great privilege for the Center to continue its work in support of the region's sustainable agricultural development.
Figure 1 Asian Small-Scale Farmers
Figure 2 Summary of 2006 Work Program
Figure 3 Co-Sponsors of FFTC Programs in 2006
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