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Building capacity to better attend to the development needs in aquatic agricultural systems

DA-BAR AAS Capacity Building - Aquatic Agriculture Systems Capacity Building Project (AAS Capacity Building) in the Philippines
Project leader
Maripaz Perez
1 Feb 2012
31 Jan 2013
Fisheries, agriculture and forestry play a critical role in supporting the livelihoods of many communities in the Philippines. The government and the development community recognize the potential of aquatic agricultural systems  to reduce poverty; however, a clearer understanding of the complexities of these systems and the communities who depend on them is needed to harness their full value. In response to this need, the Aquatic Agriculture Systems Capacity Building Project aims to enhance the capacities of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and Philippine research partners in understanding aquatic agricultural systems  and their development challenges.
Enhancing capacity to support poverty reduction in aquatic agricultural systems
In many parts of the Philippines dependence on aquatic agricultural systems is very high, for example in northern Mindanao and the Zamboanga Peninsula over 65% of the population relies on these systems for employment and income. However, the communities in these systems face a growing series of challenges as fish stocks are depleted, productivity declines and uplands are degraded. The Philippines is also highly vulnerable to climate variability and change, and to natural disasters. Flooding in Mindanao and the Visayas has caused considerable damage to agricultural production, as well as property and infrastructure.
In the face of these challenges, the government has prioritized its efforts to improve agricultural production, and fisheries and costal resource management. The BAR provides central direction and coordination of agricultural and fisheries research; striving to increase productivity and alleviate poverty, whilst promoting sustainability and protecting biodiversity.
WorldFish sees reducing poverty in aquatic agricultural systems as essential critical component of development, and has collaborated with Philippine national institutions for more than 30 years. The AAS Capacity Building Project is funded by BAR and jointly implemented by WorldFish and BAR. The project aims to enhance the capacity of BAR staff and other Philippine national research partners in understanding the drivers of ecosystems and aquatic agricultural systems to ensure sustainability and guide management and governance responses.
The project will focus on the following priority areas:
Enhancing technical skills in integrated national resource management: The technical skills of national research partners will be enhanced through a series of conferences, seminars and short-term courses. Targeted training will also be organized in consultation with the BAR to support the research and development agenda for improved aquatic agricultural systems.
Strengthening organizational capacity of national research partners to address challenges in aquatic agricultural systems:  A series of consultations in selected areas of the Philippines will identify a comprehensive research agenda that will address priority needs, while at the same time aligning efforts to address poverty with national programs on poverty alleviation.
Creating and strengthening learning networks and facilitating the exchange of scientists between WorldFish and national research institutions: The unique learning opportunities provided by diverse aquatic agricultural systems will be enhanced by cross-country exposure and shared field experiences, promoting learning beyond the classroom.  The BAR and WorldFish will identify a program of exchange and field visits for targeted researchers.
Considering the complexities of aquatic agricultural systems and the communities that depend on them, it is hoped that this project will enhance the capacity of national researchers to realize the full potential of integrated agriculture and aquaculture in the Philippines.