This is the first newsletter on ILRI activities in East and Southeast Asia. It was prepared by Steve Staal, ILRI regional representative based in the Philippines.
ILRI’s activities and team in East and Southeast Asia have been expanding in recent months, in part due to the renewed commitment to the region made during the visit of our DG and Board in 2014, and so I am circulating this message to share some of that news. I have summarized a few of the key points of interest, but please see more details in the attached flyer describing our regional program, and on our regional webpage.
While ILRI has been heavily engaged in addressing the issues of climate change adaptation and mitigation in Africa, this effort has not previously been extended to Southeast Asia. We are thus pleased to say that together with our sister CGIAR institutes and national partners, we launched two new projects under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). One project is entitled the ‘Identification and implementation support of GHG mitigation priorities and opportunities in rice-dominated landscapes’ project or Mitigating GHG emissions. It uses state-of-the-art models and technologies to identify emission hotspots in agricultural systems in Vietnam. Our national partners for this project are the Vietnam Institute of Fisheries Economics and Planning, the Institute for Agricultural Environment (IAE), the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and Can Tho University.
The other project is entitled the ‘Surveillance and early-warning systems for climate-sensitive diseases in Vietnam and Laos’ or Pestforecast. The project aims to use surveillance and early-warning systems (EWS) to develop and share maps of hotspots of important climate-sensitive diseases in Vietnam and Laos. It also plans to pilot a real-time prediction system for Japanese encephalitis and leptospirosis in the two countries, explore the potential of weather-based forecasting for aflatoxin mitigation, provide climate service and early-warning system for rubber plantations in northern Laos and disseminate, and apply specifically developed tools of pest forecast. Our key partners include Veterinarians without Borders Laos, the Research Center for Agrometeorology, Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Hanoi School of Public Health, Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Department of Animal Health and Plant Protection), National University of Laos and the provincial governments of northern Laos.
We have also just received the go ahead to start a pilot project looking at fodder and feed markets in East Java, Indonesia, where intensive beef and dairy production is increasingly dependent on markets for feeds but also crop residues. Supported by ACIAR and the Livestock and Fish CRP, this will examine the performance of such markets in terms of ability to accurately price feed quality, among other factors. We are partnering with BPTP, the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development, and are pleased to be working in Indonesia again after a hiatus of couple years.
Work continues in the area of addressing food safety and biosecurity in pig and pork markets in Vietnam, under the PigRisk project, and in value chain development under the Livestock and Fish CRP, as well as integrated systems assessment as part of the Humidtropics CRP. See the brief and website for more details.
ILRI in East and Southeast Asia is also partnering with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in offering degree opportunities for students interested in pursuing MSc/PhD studies. Research topics may be in any of the following areas: food safety, epidemiology, zoonotic diseases, livestock production and management, native/indigenous breed production or molecular characterization of local breeds.
New joint lab
ILRI is very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) to establish a new joint laboratory for animal health, Joint Laboratory for Ruminant Disease Control (JLRDC). This will be a joint project between ILRI and Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, which will focus on research on infectious diseases of ruminants and explore new research in the areas of vaccine and diagnostic agent development. The new joint laboratory in Lanzhou will complement our existing CAAS laboratory in Beijing, the Joint Laboratory on Livestock and Forage Genetic Resources.
These joint labs reflect ILRI’s strategy to work with our Chinese partners on high-end research, combining the skills of top national scientists with those in ILRI, and provide a link to our extensive research labs in Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
Given this expansion in level of activity, we have also increased our staff in the region. Currently, we have seven internationally recruited staff and six who are nationally recruited based in our offices in Hanoi, Beijing and Los Baños, with several more positions to be filled in 2015. We also have a joint appointment staff based in Ebetsu, Japan. In December 2014, Hung Nguyen was appointed as Country Representative for ILRI in Vietnam.
We are currently developing an electronic newsletter that will give you periodic updates about our research activities in the region. In the meantime, we will send regular updates by email. For articles about new outputs, workshops and conferences, please visit our ILRI Asia blog. You can also subscribe there by email or newsfeed to receive updates on our blog posts. Comments/questions on our blog articles are also welcome, since we currently have on our team a communications specialist, who manages the blog and can assist in addressing inquiries and feedback.
From all of us at ILRI in East and Southeast Asia, we appreciate your continued support and look forward to working together again soon.
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