Between January 13 and February 14, 2007, Program Director Theo Dillaha visited SANREM field sites and partners in Southeast Asia associated with the Long-Term Research Activity “Agroforestry and Sustainable Vegetable Production in Southeast Asian Watersheds,” under the direction of NC A&T’s Manuel Reyes. While in Southeast Asia, Dillaha visited field research sites, observed activity progress to date, met with project teams and their partners, learned more about implementation contexts, and visited USAID missions.
In Indonesia, Dillaha participated in the Global Event on Payments/Rewards for Environmental Services in Lombok and then met with research partners at Bogor Agricultural Institute, USAID, and the World Agroforestry Center. He also visited the Nanggung Subdistrict, West Java activity site where research partners from Nong Lam University and ICRAF are attempting to introduce the commercial production of herbs, medicinal plants, and high value indigenous vegetables into agroforestry systems.
After Indonesia, Dillaha teamed up with Alton Thompson, Dean of the School of Agriculture at NC A&T and Chairperson of the SANREM CRSP Board of Directors, and met with faculty and administrators from Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This meeting concluded with the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Nong Lam University and NC A&T on faculty and student exchanges. While in Vietnam, Dillaha also toured field research sites operated by Nong Lam University and Mars International Inc. partners in the Nghia Trung Village area of Binh Phuoc Province. ”I was particularly impressed with infrastructure development in Vietnam,” says Dillaha. “The government is constructing and opening up modern toll roads all over the country and this is increasing opportunities for rural development by decreasing transportation costs.
In the Philippines, Dillaha met with SE Asia research activity partners from ICRAF, De La Salle University, Don Bosco Technical College, University of the Philippines at Los Baños, University of the Philippines Open University, and USAID. He also visited the University of Santo Tomas and Silliman University and discussed possible relationships with SANREM there. Theo visited four field sites in the Lantapan Watershed in Bukindon, Mindinao. About the watershed sites, Dillaha shares, “The visit to the Lantapan watershed was particularly enlightening as SANREM has had activities in this watershed since the early 1990’s. I was particularly impressed with one of the cooperating SANREM farmers, Henry Binahon, who seems to be very successfully applying almost every imaginable best management practice in his agroforestry and vegetable production enterprise.” According to Dillaha, SANREM will be doing a feature article on Henry in the near future, as he and his wife are the “poster people” for sustainable agriculture and natural resources management.