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SEARCA journal spotlights West PH Sea heritage, other crucial SE Asian studies


The Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development (AJAD) has released its June 2023 issue, featuring insightful articles and research papers shedding light on key agricultural and development issues in Asia, with a spotlight on the valuable heritage of the contested West Philippine Sea.

AJAD is an international refereed journal published by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio said the latest edition covers diverse topics such as domestic investments in agriculture, innovative growth models, and the preservation of heritage in the West Philippine Sea. Additionally, the journal includes three articles on various Asian countries and two book reviews.

In his paper titled “Economic Returns to Agricultural Research: Thailand and Indonesia,” Emeritus Professor Peter Warr of the Australian National University emphasizes the significance of scientific research in enhancing agricultural productivity in developing nations. Professor Warr raises concerns about the effectiveness of public sector research in increasing productivity. His findings reveal that lower investments in research, compared to other forms of spending, have hindered the agricultural productivity of Thailand and Indonesia. To address this issue, he advocates for increased public investments in agricultural research, particularly in technologies tailored to local conditions.

Dr. Paul Teng and Jose Ma Luis Montesclaros of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore present an alternative perspective on economic transformation in small states. In their paper titled “Agricultural Transformation for Small (Island and Developing) States,” the authors propose prioritizing the development of urban industrial and service sectors over agriculture. They draw insights from Singapore’s successful model of “leapfrogging” and argue that urban industrialization can pave the way for economic transformation in small cities and developing states in the modern era of technology-enabled growth.

Amid ongoing geopolitical disputes, Dr. Ben Malayang III and his co-authors contribute a relevant study titled “Fisheries Management Areas in the West Philippine Sea and Their Heritage Values.” The authors emphasize the urgent need to protect and conserve fisheries areas, considering their cultural and heritage significance, in light of political and territorial conflicts. They highlight foreign-fleet poaching as a major threat to fisheries and biodiversity in the disputed region. The authors call for policies and actions that promote safe access to fisheries areas, establishment of protected areas, preservation of livelihoods, and research and development initiatives.

According to Gregorio, the June 2023 issue of AJAD also includes research papers on stress-tolerant rice varieties for smallholder farmers in Cambodia; suitability evaluation for apple cultivation in Kashmir Valley, India; and smart food value chain models for milkfish intervention. The volume also features book reviews on lessons on pro-poor development policies in the Philippines and East Asia as well as resilient food systems through urban and regional agriculture.

“AJAD emphasizes empirical, policy-oriented, and institutional development studies and covers diverse topics like digital agriculture, food security, water resources management, international trade, agricultural policies, and governance,” Gregorio explained.

He added that submissions are accepted year-round on the AJAD website, offering free access to both new and archived papers. Print copies can be obtained through subscription.

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A collection of noteworthy information on various topics from the Philippines and the rest of the world.