Knowledge-Intensive Agriculture for Sustainable Farming in ASEAN

Ita Sualia, CAPSA’s Research Consultant, on behalf of CAPSA’s Director, presented CAPSA’s perspective on Integrated Research-Extension through Regional Networking at the ASEAN Technical Meeting and Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue on Higher Agriculture Education, Research and Extension (ASEAN-HAERE) for Food Security and Sustainability in Southeast Asia in Jakarta, 6-7 December 2017.

The event was jointly held by the ASEAN Secretariat, Education, Youth and Sports Division; Chulalongkorn University School of Agricultural Resources (CUSAR), Thailand; Food Security Center (FSC), University of Hohenheim, Germany; Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC), Ministry of Education, Thailand; Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA); Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It aimed to contribute to the ASEAN Workplan on Education (AWPE), 2016-2020, PROJECT 47 by identifying the role of agricultural higher education institutions (HEIs), researchers, extension workers and NGOs in enhancing sustainable agri-food system through education, research and extension.

Around 30 participants represented HEIs, international and regional organization including the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (ASEAN-SEAMEO) and SEARCA. They delivered country national reports, SWOT analysis of HAERE, perspectives, priorities and partnership proposition promoting sustainable agriculture in ASEAN. Inadequate mechanism, capacity gap, limited involvement of private actors, lack of funding, knowledge silos, lack of integration of sustainable agriculture in curricula are only some of many issues to tackle in strengthening HAERE in the region. CAPSA, through SATNET Portal, facilitates knowledge sharing among member states on issues related to poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture; providing training materials on sustainable agriculture practices at the farm level to reduce capacity gap and knowledge silos.

During the ‘International Organizations and Networks on HAERE’ session, CAPSA highlighted the role of extension in disseminating research result from researcher to farmer and vice versa, in delivering information and farmer’s needs to researcher and in improving collaboration between researcher, extension worker and farmer. A sub-theme discussion of the workshop emphasized the importance of knowledge-transfer mechanism in promoting sustainable farming and making agriculture as a choice of profession among youth. CAPSA underlined the necessity of a paradigm shift from input-intensive to knowledge-intensive agriculture and its role as a channel of knowledge sharing and advocacy. In this regards, ASEAN smallholders, youth and agricultural students are the key targets for a robust strategic planning of HAERE system in the region. The workshop came up with the Plenary Report Summaries recapitulated main problems of HAERE and priorities in the betterment of agricultural education, research and extension for ASEAN member states.