Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NGOs share experiences in Agriculture Research for Development

During the Bangkok workshop on Agriculture Research for Development (ARD) last April 2008, one of the Technical Sessions focused on NGO experiences in ARD in Asia-Pacific. The session was chaired by Dr. Roel Ravanera, Dean of the Xavier University College of Agriculture in the Philippines and co-chaired by Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC in Bangladesh.

In all, the following five presentations were made:
I. Southeast Asia - Nathaniel Don Marquez, ANGOC/ Asia
II. South Asia - Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign/ India
III. PNG Women in Agriculture - Maria Linibi, Intoap Village/ Papua New Guinea
IV. Alternative Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture - Hiva Levi, PIANGO/ Fiji
V. China Association of NGOs - Huang Haoming, CANGO/ China

Don Marquez of ANGOC reiterated the need for concerted efforts to build linkages among NGOs, FO, Government, NARS and IARC to empower the farming communities. He also highlighted the areas needing priority attention as:

a) Inclusiveness and community empowerment involving area of land reforms, rights, policy research, etc.
b) Sustainable livelihoods that include microfinance and linking farmers to markets.

c) National resource management, including disaster management, responding to and mitigate climate change effects; and enhance farmer – scientist – NARS collaboration in research.

NAARAP Plans to engage ARDs at Global and Country levels

Initially, NAARAP plans to pursue the following three major interventions and link them to GFAR and APAARI processes at the national, regional and global levels:

1. To participate actively in determining the direction, content and conduct of ARD at national, regional and international levels
2. To generate, document and share knowledge, experiences, expertise, and replicate successful practices and lessons learned in engaging with ARD
3. To document the entire partnership process in ARD and to develop possible modalities to above with farmers ARD experiences in their local languages. The specific goals and objectives under each of above three interventions should be:

I. Regional NGO Priorities in ARD

NGO competencies in ARD were identified and areas where they could contribute were articulated:

Linking Small Farm Holders, NGOs, CSOs and Agri Research systems (ARS), small farm holders and other clientele groups (e.g. women, rural youth, etc.) at the national, regional and international levels

* NGOs be involved in the planning, budgeting and decision making process of ARS (National, Regional and international), to reflect needs of NGOs/CSOs and SFHs in their research plans and priorities.

* Conduct farmer-participatory research on SFHs’ technologies, backed with science and required documentation for adoption by ARS.

* Enable on farm production of inputs to facilitate adoption and replication of successful technologies by SFHs.

* Facilitate access by SFHs to information, appropriate technologies, expert data banks and ARIs.

Impact Assessment and Advocating Policy Changes

* Identify constraints to adoption and advocate policy changes needed to remove the constraints.

* Assess outcomes and impact of technologies on SFHs and document, share with key stakeholders.

Thus, the following agenda have been identified by NAARAP: i) technology development, ii) sustainable natural resource management, iii) facilitating farmers’ access to markets and other support services, and iv) agenda for overall partnership.