The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic & Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST – PCAARRD) held its Country Partnership discussion at Makati Diamond Residences on February 13.
ACIAR engages in annual discussion with its stakeholders to ensure that its priorities for research collaboration continue to align and complement the Philippine strategies for agricultural research and development in the next 10 years.
Australian Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley, and DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr Rowena Guevara were keynote speakers of the event.
“Agriculture is a shared agenda of Australia and the Philippines noting its role in driving food security, poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. We fully support the Philippine Government’s initiatives on value chain and rural development, especially helping farmers increase productivity, build their capacities to gain better access to markets and trade opportunities, “Australian Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley said.
Sixty heads of agencies and representatives from national research institutions, state universities, private sector, civil society, local government and international development partners participated in the one-day meeting. ACIAR General Manager for Country Programs Dr Peter Horne and PCAARRD Executive Director Reynaldo Ebora led working group sessions to map out the development of a 10-year Country Strategy for Agriculture Research, 2018-2028.
“ACIAR remains committed to funding longer-term programs in the Philippines and sustaining its collaborative research partnerships that deliver science-based solutions to real world problems of farmers and fisherfolks.” ACIAR Country Manager Dr. Peter Horne said. In the next six to nine months, ACIAR will further consult and work with partners to finalize the plan.
ACIAR currently supports 17 projects valued at P840-million (A$24-million) and focuses on increasing agricultural productivity, and the marketability and international competitiveness of agricultural products, with, more recently an emphasis on reducing the adverse effects of climate change on the rural poor. ACIAR’s Philippines program has had a greater focus on Mindanao and Visayas.
Australia’s partnership with the Philippines involves a wide variety of development programs in education, gender, peace and stability, among others.