FFTC Annual Report 2008
The year 2008 saw significant new challenges for the agricultural sector against a backdrop of dramatic increases in world food prices that created a global crisis and caused political and economic instability in both poor and developed nations. Several factors contributed to the rising food price between the years 2007 and 2008, dubbed as a "perfect storm" of poor agricultural productivity in various parts of the world, lower food reserves, growing consumer demand particularly in the Asian region, oil price hike, and changes in the world economy. With new challenges come new opportunities, and insights into how we need to shape our Center in the future. Our contribution in confronting the challenges of food security and food price stability is to consistently respond to the needs, especially of small-scale farmers in the region, for cutting-edge yet practical technologies to improve domestic food production toward self sufficiency and self-reliance. The past year was in many ways a positive year for the Center as we traverse into the second-year implementation of the FFTC Strategic Plan for 2007-2011. We are continuously becoming more focused in promoting modern and practical information and technology toward achieving the Plan's main goals of increased income and improved livelihood of small-scale farmers, improved food safety, enhancement of environment-friendly technology, and sustainable use of natural resources in the region. Only now we are more aware that the global environment has become more volatile, and that we must continuously evaluate our program and policy directions in response to the challenges of the times. In 2008, amid a looming world food crisis, the Center stayed focus in ensuring a continuing stream of new and appropriate technology for improved, sustainable, and efficient agricultural production, through our programs and activities that address current concerns such as sustainability of natural resources and the environment through ecologically sound agricultural practices, enhancement of rural development and entrepreneurship, exploring alternative sources of energy, and meeting changing market and consumer preferences through food quality and safety standards amid recent trends in economic development and globalization. With the support and commitment of all our member countries and partner institutions, it is our privilege to continue the Center's work and contribute to the creation of a viable, sustainable, and healthy agricultural sector in the Asian and Pacific region.