FFTC major activities
FFTC HAS A UNIQUE ROLE among the world’s international agriculture centers. It does not carry out any research, but collects and disseminates research results generated by other agricultural centers in the region. The aim is to provide farmers in the Asian and Pacific region with improved practical information about new technology, to help them achieve higher yields and better incomes.
The Center’s information work is broad-based, reflecting the information needs of small-scale farmers in the region. The Center does not disseminate information directly to Asian farmers. Instead, the Center disseminates technical information to people working for national extension systems, and other people such as agricultural researchers who also work with farmers and act as “multipliers of information”. Some information is collected through networks of research and extension centers. The Center also holds four to eight international seminars and workshops each year on topics of major regional importance. Surveys are another way of collecting information on important topics. The Center carries out surveys occasionally with the help of local cooperators. Topics covered in regional surveys over the past few years include virus diseases of fruit trees (diagnosis, insect vectors,natural enemies of the vectors); problems of Asian farmers in pesticide use; and low-input technology using local resources developed by farmers on their own farms. Information is disseminated via the Internet, at training courses, and in publications. Each year the Center distributes 20-30 technical publications free of charge to more than 2000 libraries and extension centers, most of them in the Asian and Pacific region. FFTC publications from 1990 are available free of charge on this database.
The major activities of the Center revolve around the identification, collection and dissemination of information on improved technology on every aspect of agriculture which are deemed important to the present and future needs of Asian farmers. This involves:
- Identification of problems and issues;
- Collection, sharing and exchange of information; and
- Dissemination and technology transfer.
The overall goal of these activities is to promote agricultural growth and sustainability in the ASPAC region, focused primarily on improved productivity, fostering the sustainable use of natural resources, and increased income and improved livelihood of small-scale farmers. Over the years, the Center has also taken on the task of assessing future trends based on the information it has collected, to meet the changing needs of the farmers. Following are FFTC’s major activities:
- Regional field surveys. Surveys, carried out in several countries of the region, are conducted to make an in-depth assessment of a particular problem. The aim is to clarify the causes of a particular problem and gather pertinent benchmark data as the basis for designing future programs and activities of the Center.
- Seminars and workshops. The Center organizes seminars and workshops where prominent researchers and extension workers deliberate on topics of major regional importance. These seminars and workshops are the Center’s main sources of technical information. While seminars focus on results of scientific investigations, workshops are more concerned with the practical application of new technology. Each year, the Center holds three to five seminars and workshops in different Asian countries. National and international agencies based in the countries where these meetings are held serve as cosponsors, providing the venue and other support. Over the years, the Center has built strong linkages with several agricultural organizations in the region through these international meetings.
- Training courses and special projects. The Center conducts training courses that cater to scientists, laboratory technicians, extension agents, and farmer leaders who serve as multipliers of information. Training courses aim to equip the participants with practical techniques or management skills, intended to bring immediate benefit to the farmers they work with. Meanwhile, the Center conducts special projects to address specific agricultural concerns of countries within the Asian region. These include technology transfer projects such as field/pilot demonstrations and establishment of repository for clean planting materials, or research activities on specialized concerns of member countries in the region.
- Publications. Publication is a major work program of the Center. It includes technical and extension bulletins, a newsletter, leaflets on practical technologies and research highlights, annual report, books, proceedings, and electronic media. The Center’s publications disseminate applied agricultural research, and give emphasis on practical technology for small farmers in the region.