Piloting and Up-Scaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development

vkff searca


Implementing Organization: SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate
Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)

Key Stakeholders: universities and research institutions, local governments, farmers groups, civil society, private sector in two municipalities in the Philippines

Project Period: 2015-present


Project Overview:

SEAMEO SEARCA’s mission is to “strengthen institutional capacities toward inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia through graduate education, research and development, and knowledge management,” (SEARCA website, ‘About Us’ page). As SEARCA enters its 10th Five Year Plan, the organization is set to distill the elements of an emerging ISARD model from its extensive experience of developing and implementing agricultural and rural development approaches in Southeast Asia.

Through a participatory, landscape, and systems approach to agricultural and rural development, SEARCA facilitates the initiative, Piloting and Up-Scaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, where the emerging ISARD models can be tested and refined while contributing to the improvement of agricultural production and economy in the selected two agro-ecological sites in the Philippines.

SEARCA mobilized the higher education institutions located in the project sites to steer the project’s research and development (R&D) activities and work closely with the local government units, agricultural R&D institutions, and other key stakeholders in the area. The first pilot project is located in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro, with focus on the improvement of the value chain of Calamansi, a major commodity in the province. The second pilot project aims to increase farm production, agricultural productivity, and household incomes of farmers in Inopacan, Leyte in the Visayas region.

The ISARD model which is being implemented in the two project sites has the following components: small grants for technical assistance, institutional development and capacity building, knowledge management, and linkaging and networking for support services. Development of innovations at the farm level is facilitated through field-based research and experimentation, series of learning workshops in-teams and across the two teams, mentoring and guided team reflections, as well as the use of participatory communication and knowledge sharing strategies to document, synthesize, and share good practices and lessons that are transpiring from the action research.

Capacity Development in Action:

In SEARCA’s Piloting and Up-Scaling Project, CD can be seen operating in multiple dimensions and levels. Individuals who directly participate in the project’s research and learning activities enhance their competencies in key areas of their work; the small grants enable teams to explore new ways of improving local agriculture and economy while the collaborative and adaptive nature of action research provides an opportunity for participating teams and institutions to learn from one another and eventually, improve their institutional capacities. At the macro-, policy-making level, the Piloting and Up-Scaling Project allows SEARCA to develop its institutional capacity of undertaking its mandate by creating an added value out of its greatest asset, knowledge on agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia, and use this value to further advance its mission in the region.

For further information: Visit SEARCA’s webpage on Piloting and Up-Scaling ISARD on http://www.searca.org/index.php/research-and-development/pilot-testing-of-isard-models


1 This is one of two cases inluded in the article.

This article is adopted from Helen Hambly-Odame’s handout with the same title originally written for students of MSc in Capacity Development and Extension at the University of Guelph.

Helen Hambly-Odame is Associate Professor at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph. Winifredo B. Dagli is one of Prof. Hambly-Odame’s students in the Foundations of Capacity Development class at the University of Guelph, Fall Semester 2017.