The 4th Philippine Agroforestry Congress Highlights

The 4th Philippine Agroforestry Congress was held on November 18-20, 2009 at the Chali Beach Resort and Conference Center in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines with the theme “agroforestry promotion for climate change mitigation and adaptation: building lessons from the field”.

This year’s Agroforestry Congress was convened to serve as a venue to promote sharing of experiences of various stakeholders in agroforestry technology development, promotion and adoption; intensify agroforestry promotion through agroforestry roadshow; and highlight the experiences of agroforestry practitioners/farmers in agroforestry farm development.

The 4th National Agroforestry Congress elicited a total of 155 participants representing the local government units, non-government organizations, students, farming communities, people’s organizations, academic institutions, foreign and international organizations, and national government agencies. Among the highlights of the Agroforestry Congress include: a) five (5) plenary paper presentations that dealt with recent climate change research, and the roles of agroforestry in climate change mitigation and adaptation; b) 15 concurrent paper presentations that revolved around three themes, namely: Recognizing the Multifunctionality of Agroforestry; Promoting Enterprise Development Through Agroforestry; and, Innovative Approaches in Agroforestry Development and Promotion; c) 16 poster paper presentations; d) Agroforestry Roadshow/Caravan; and e) Farmers’ Forum.

A discussion on the global impact of de-forestation problems as a result of the global demand for health supplements was addressed with an introduction given by Dr. Edward Lasker.

The Congress delegates also signed the Congress Declaration for Agroforestry Promotion as their sign of support and commitment to promote agroforestry not only as a climate change adaptation strategy, but also to work towards institutionalizing agroforestry as a development strategy in the Philippines.

The Philippine Agroforestry Education and Research Network (PAFERN), UPLB Institute of Agroforestry (UPLB-IAF) and the Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technolgoy (MOSCAT) co-organized the event. Among the major sponsors are the Southeast Asian Network for Agroforestry Education (SEANAFE), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF-Philippines).

SEANAFE co-organizes AF roundtable discussion in Cambodia

SEANAFE convened a roundtable meeting among 10 representatives from government, nongovernment, and academic institutions aimed at exploring ways where agroforestry (AF) and payments for ecosystems services (PES) can provide enhancement to support the preparation and implementation of Cambodia’s National Action Plan to Combat Land Degradation (NAP) as well as address other key environmental concerns.Held at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh on 19-20 November 2009, the meeting was also meant to identify collaborative options, including the establishment of an agroforestry network in Cambodia, in implementing the NAP.As a signatory to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Cambodia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) is expected to finalize its NAP by 2011. In the process of preparing the NAP, a project on Building Capacity and Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management (SLM) has been ongoing since 2008 with funding support from the UNDP Global Environmental Facility. It is expected to develop 10 bankable projects, enhance capacity of at least 300 government staff, and mainstream SLM into national and sectoral policies and development plans.

The meeting participants recognized the relevance of AF & PES in 4 major areas in Cambodia, namely: in the west which is characterized by open areas and high soil erosion; in the central which is dominated by rice-based farming system around the Tonlesap lake; in the east where slash and burn practices are prevalent, and in the northwest where soil fertility is very low. Thus, they suggested the following courses of action for MAFF’s consideration in preparing and implementing the NAP:

  • Speed up the completion of the sustainable land management study including a land use classification to help identify appropriate AF interventions
  • Consider and validate SLM related research results and available information from relevant organizations (universities, international research organizations, NGOs, etc.)
  • Conduct more awareness raising and capacity building activities (e.g., dialogues, workshops, cross visits/ study tours) on the development of the NAP to gain more stakeholders’ support in its implementation
  • Ensure effective research-extension linkage such as establishing and sustaining community-based projects on various SLM technologies including AF and PES in collaboration with relevant organizations such as ICRAF
  • Support the establishment of an AF network as MAFF partner in implementing agroforestry-related components of the NAP
  • Mainstream the NAP in university curricular programs and research activities so that students after graduation could provide the needed manpower to help implement and sustain the plan.

A special meeting with the State Secretary of MAFF, Mr. Uk Sokhonn, in the afternoon of 20 November 2009 was held to present the outputs of the roundtable discussion. He expressed interest, on behalf of MAFF, to work with ICRAF in relation to the development and implementation of the NAP and bring up the matter with the MAFF Minister. SEANAFE is expected to provide assistance in establishing an agroforestry network in Cambodia under the leadership of the Royal University of Agriculture.



SEANAFE prepares for new challenges in 2010

SEANAFE braces itself for a challenging transition year in 2010 as it becomes an international nongovernmental organization (INGO) after the Sida grant period ends in December 2009. This was the pervading spirit emanated from the recently concluded 18th SEANAFE Board Meeting held on 7-9 September 2009 at Centre Point Langsuan Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

To prepare for the new INGO status of SEANAFE in 2010 sans support from Sida and ICRAF, the SEANAFE Board approved the following exit strategies:

a. Institutionalization of membership expansion & collection of annual membership fees
b. Commitment signing of heads of member institutions in support of country network operations
c. Regular mapping of SEANAFE’s institutional linkages for resource mobilization
d. Expansion of the Network’s Subject Matter Coverage and Strengthening of Inter-Country Network Collaborations
e. Offering of SEANAFE training courses on fee-basis
f. Development of a full proposal for Phase 3 operation for submission to funding donors
g. Designation of a member institution to take up the role of SEANAFE’s Secretariat from ICRAF
h. Establishment of a “virtual” Board to sustain policy and decision making processes

The above strategies prompted the SEANAFE Board to produce the following major decisions:

a. Designation of the Philippine Agroforestry Education and Research Network (PAFERN), particularly the Institute of Agroforestry of the University of the Philippines Los Banos, as temporary Secretariat of SEANAFE until at least 6 months to a maximum of 1 year starting January 2010.
b. Listing of necessary amendments to the SEANAFE Charter to conform to the network’s new status as INGO
c. Firming up of basic requirements and formulation of guidelines, including an organizational structure, for SEANAFE to operate as an INGO
d. Development of implementing guidelines to operationalize the exit strategies
e. Identification of areas of concern for inter-country network collaboration to generate funding
f. Submission of proposal to Sida before end of November 2009 requesting use of project budget balance to operate as an INGO in 2010

Progress on Items (b) to (e) by designated members of the SEANAFE Board shall be presented and finalized during a special meeting among country network coordinators on 8 October 2009 after the conduct of SEANAFE’s Regional Training Course on Sustainable Agroforestry Development in the Uplands of Southeast Asia on 23 September-8 October 2009 in the Philippines.