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A MUST READ!! Madecor Group Offers Some Perspectives and Insights on Agricultural Development

The following is an executive brief of the Madecor Group's latest contribution —entitled "Some Perspectives and Insights on Agricultural Development"— to the discourse on two of Philippines' pressing matters, food security and effective agricultural development. Follow the links to view/download the Executive Summary and Main Report. You can contact the Madecor Group for comments and suggestions here.

SOME PERSPECTIVES AND INSIGHTS ON AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

By Madecor Group, Los Baños, Philippines

Executive Brief

This is an extensive review of the continuing high potential of Philippine Agriculture to become an engine of growth for solutions to rural poverty and as a base for agro-industrial development and wider prosperity. The view is that while our farmer capabilities are at par with our neighbors, we have not been agile in national development strategies that incorporate the capacities of our farmers to be extremely productive and also to support them with policies that are integrational rather the disparate approach by independent agencies based on commodities and disciplines that atomize our efforts.

In the globalized economy, Philippine Agriculture will have to put emphasis on commodities and/or products with competitive advantages while ensuring food and also nutrition security. This will include a mix of strategies that goes beyond the limiting effects of rice self-sufficiency, land reform and tradition to such other policies of programmed complementarities within the country and strategic alliances and exchanges with its friends and neighboring countries. This can bring down costs of basic staple food for the consumers and bring up incomes of farming families.

A new kind of land reform is proposed: land consolidation reform to use more of the family labor resources. The work and family ethic of the Filipino farmer fits another form of consolidation, an agribusiness partnership with a "Big-Brother" scheme. The treatise also points out that our major industries of coconut, sugar, rice, etc. need new strategies or technologies to make them more competitive. Diversification and intensification are two strategies that must be seriously considered together with crop rotation, alternation and multiple cropping to register increased total farm incomes and benefits and not just single crop incomes. The technologies that we could capitalize on are in: fully connected infrastructure, rural water engineering, environment-friendly techniques, manufacture and exports appropriate mechanization for small farms, legumes intercropping and extensification, value adding processing for seasonal surplus commodities, post-harvest and processing integration, creative credit and insurance schemes, biotechnology and clean and climate-smart precision agriculture.

Many displaced farmers will need new resettlement programs to have them in (a) special programs of responsible land stewardships for agroforestry, mangrove rehabilitation, reforestation, and infrastructure development, (b) special resettlements in areas needing good farming methods on coconuts, root crops, fish farming, rice farming, multiple cropping, etc. either in-country and even in other countries trying to improve their capacities and productivities and can use experienced farmers.

The above will mean a drastic and rapid review by the new administration of all policies and programs related to agriculture, natural resources, rural infrastructures, agri-entrepreneurial education, and even foreign relations to change from the present nature of atomized functions in government and education, towards encouraging more integration of functions, coordination among agencies at the lowest homogeneous level, and interlinkages among disciplines that will span university education, professional functions, administrative and implementation functions among government bureaucracies and even business and entrepreneurial activities, all with emphasis on competitiveness, profitability and maximization of benefits. This also means that an Asian ethic around family, community and common welfare will be promoted.

Participants from Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges Visit Cambodia and Philippines

ZM Estareja - March 10, 2016

To push through the Padma River Project without harming the environment specifically the Padma River, the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Government of Bangladesh commissioned the Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc. (AIDSI) together with Sodev Consult International, Ltd., to prepare a Study Tour Program on the Management of Protected Areas in Wetlands in Cambodia and the Philippines for the Senior Officials of the ministry. A study program was conducted last March 01 to 09, 2016 for eleven (11) officials from the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Bangladesh headed by Mr. Md. Majibur Rahman.

The visit in Cambodia involved the Cambodian Mekong Dolphin Conservation Project (CMDCP), a collaborative effort between WWF, the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) and the Fisheries Administration that addresses the urgent need to conserve the Mekong Dolphin by implementing the government’s Cambodian Mekong Dolphin Conservation Strategy, the Ecotourism in Koh Preah of Strung Treng Province that encourage the farmers to diversify their income streams, through involvement in a range of livelihood activities and even introducing ecotourism to a few picturesque villages – which gives a cash incentive for conserving the environment, and Le Tonlé Tourism Training Center, a not-for-profit training guest house providing vocational training to disadvantaged youth from Cambodia’s north-eastern provinces of Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, and Mondulkiri.

As for the Philippines, the group flew to Palawan and visited the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site & New 7 Wonders of Nature), Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (a crocodile farm), and Snake Island (government declared protected area for its marine and avifaunal biodiversity). They also met the officials from the Palawan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

Visiting these places gave the participants a good grasp of the importance of institutional mechanisms (policies, programs, and organizations) in protected area management. The study tour provided opportunities for the Bangladeshi participants to gain and exchange knowledge and skills and efforts on protected area management in Cambodia and in the Philippines.

UNICEF-SRI LANKA sponsors Study Visit Programme on Multi Sectors Nutrition Policy, Practice, and Outcomes in the Philippines

CA de Leon - September 30, 2015

Ten (10) officials from the Eastern Provincial Council and Provincial Director of Health Services (PDHS) of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka participated in the study visit programme sponsored by UNICEF-Sri Lanka.

The program was designed mainly to gain innovative ideas, skills, and exposure on malnutrition prevention program and initiatives in the Philippines. Specifically, the study visit programme aimed to (1) Learn new paradigms of health & nutrition sector development and policy; (2) Understand the nature, causes and challenges of malnutrition and food security and the ways for addressing it; (3) Improve skills to develop quality programmes and ensure implementation through result-based approach; and (4) Create enabling environment for reduction of malnutrition with the implementation of appropriate policies.

The program provided lecture discussions, group discussions from local government officials, and field visits. At the end of the program, participants were asked to prepare a feedback report as their output of the study visits. During the study tour, participants visited relevant institutions that implement numerous nutrition programs in the Philippines such as National Nutrition Council Central Office and National Capital Region Office, Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP), Department of Health (DOH), Local Government of Mandaluyong, Provincial Government of Batangas, Municipal Government of Calaca, and Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement - University of the Philippines Los Baños (BIDANI-UPLB), and Barangay Mabacan, Calauan, Laguna.

In general, the participants stated that the overall quality of the study visit programme was very good as well as were very educational and functional as they gained important information which will provide as their guide in formulating nutrition policies, programs, plans, and even laws.

North Western Province (NWP), Sri Lanka commissions AIDSI to conduct a Training cum Study Tour Program on Health Economics and Financial Management

ZM Estareja - September 30, 2015

The Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc. (AIDSI) was commissioned by the Provincial Department of Health Services (PDHS) of North Western Province (NWP), Sri Lanka to conduct a Training cum Study Tour Program on Health Economics and Financial Management for two batches of Senior Officials, Directors, Accountants, Doctors, and Planning Officers from Kurunegala and Puttlam, Sri Lanka, to be held in the Philippines. The first batch which consisted of 13 participants carried out their training on August 23-29, 2015; while the second batch (14 participants) performed it on September 06-12, 2015. Mr. Andrew N. Gonzalez served as the Program Coordinator.

The Sri Lankan delegates visited the Department of Health (DOH), Pasig City Children’s Hospital (CHILD’s HOPE), Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth), Manila Doctors Hospital, Provincial Health Office of Laguna, and the Municipal Health Office of Los Banos.

The program aimed to give the participants a good understanding and exposure on Philippines’ health development system and the theories and practices on health economics. Specifically, it intended the participants to familiarize with the national health development system in the Philippines, understand the concepts and practices in health economics, understand the financial management system in the health sector, learn health financing policies and programs as well as health insurance, and observe financial management approaches and success stories that can be adopted to improve the system in Sri Lanka.

Navigating the Culture of Peace: The Study Tour on Peace Sensitive Development in Reference to Conflict Transformation and Peace Building

ZM Estareja - January 31, 2015

The Asian Institute of Developmental Studies, Inc. (AIDSI) was commissioned by the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Nepal (MOPR) to materialize the Study Tour on Peace Sensitive Development in Reference to Conflict Transformation and Peace Building. Eight delegates from the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Joint Secretary Mr. Rishi Rajbhandari, Under Secretaries, Mr. Gehendra Bahadur Dangi, Ms. Suprabha Dhungel, Mr. Krishna Shahi, and Mr. Hari Prasad Neupane, and Section Officers, Mr. Rajesh Khadka, Mr. Mukunda Pokharel, and Mr. Madhab Prasad Sharma came to the Philippines to participate in the said study tour on January 25 to 31, 2015. Engr. Kevin Dela Cruz served as the Program Coordinator.

In general, the program aimed to give the participants a good understanding and exposure on peace sensitive development and peace building initiatives in the Philippines. Specifically, at the end of the program, it aimed the participants to be able to familiarize with the political, social, economic and peace and order situation in the Philippines, visit peace building organizations in the Philippines and learn their programs and services; and discuss and synthesize good peace sensitive development interventions and strategies of peace building organizations in the country.

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