Achievement of resilience, equity and regional integration in agriculture and the rural sector across the Southeast Asian region will entail initiatives and interventions along various facets of the rural development challenges facing countries in the region. These span the range of concerns that include productivity at the level of primary production and at the various links of the value chain, sustainability and environmental management, approaches to rural poverty reduction, food security and food safety, institutions and governance, and regional economic integration. Studies and papers will thus be invited for presentation at the conference organized under the following themes, each with a conscious and deliberate effort to address implications on resilience, equity and regional integration.
Improvement in productivity is a constant imperative for Southeast Asian farms and fisheries. Sessions under this theme will deal with issues and innovations in farm and fishery technologies and production systems. It will explore technical and socio-economic aspects of technological development in agriculture and fisheries, including on biotechnology, genetics, seed technology, aquatic agricultural systems, mechanization, irrigation and water management.
This theme examines the range of processes and transactions spanning the agriculture and fisheries value chain, from rural finance and farm credit, input markets and postharvest practices, to processing and value-adding, agri-based manufacturing, transport and logistics services. Of particular interest are innovations to widen participation in various links in the value chains, especially greater participation by primary producers in value adding toward improvement in farm incomes.
Sustainability and Poverty Reduction
The Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 global agenda are focused on poverty reduction and sustainable development. This theme deals on sustainable agriculture and fisheries, addressing implications for rural poverty and the environment of various technologies and practices, both modern and traditional. Topics of interest include sustainable farming, sustainable landscapes, climate change adaptation, resource rights and equity, upland agriculture, ancestral lands and indigenous peoples, among others.
Food security is one of the key goals of agricultural development, and is seen to be of paramount importance by numerous stakeholders. Sessions in this theme will explore various technological and public policy issues concerning food security, such as attendant governance issues, the debate on food self-sufficiency and “food sovereignty,” disaster management and mitigation, and food safety and nutrition. Various perspectives on food security concerns will be accommodated to promote healthy debate and knowledge sharing on associated issues.
Regional Cooperation and Integration
The looming ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 draws attention to its attendant threats and opportunities facing domestic agricultural sectors in the member countries. Sessions under this theme will deal on the positive and negative implications of wider trade in agricultural products in the South East Asian region; opportunities in cross-border agricultural value chains; regional food security mechanisms; and other aspects of regional cooperation in agriculture and fisheries.
This theme examines various institutional and governance issues in the agricultural development of South East Asian countries. Topics to be explored in the sessions will include agricultural policy issues at the regional, sub-regional, national and sub-national levels; institutional and governance challenges to effective management of agricultural development; role of private sector and civil society in agricultural development; economies of scale, clustering and cooperatives development; efficient land markets; and ARD innovation systems.
Special sessions will address other important topics that may not logically fall under any of the six themes, such as higher education and capacity development in ARD.