The 3rd Regional Virtual Meeting on Digital RAS in Asia, 

May 10th, 2023

Rural Advisory Services for Southeast Asia (RASSEA) in collaboration with the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) successfully held the 3rd Regional Webinar on May 10th 2023, with the theme: “Contemporary Digital Innovations in Southeast Asia Agricultural Extension.” This seminar was also supported by the Faculty of Human Ecology IPB University and the Indonesian Association of Development Extension Experts (PAPPI). This seminar aims to share the results of studies on Contemporary Digital Innovations in Southeast Asia Agricultural Extension. The study team led by Dr. Siti Amanah involved teams from two countries, namely Indonesia and the Philippines.  Attending the seminar were representatives of the Government of  Indonesia, Stakeholders and Global & Regional RAS Networks. Participants came from several countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Switzerland. This seminar presented speakers Dr. Siti Amanah &; Dr. Rani Mutiara (Indonesia) and Dr. Arlene Luna Flores (Philippines), moderated by Dr. Eric Palacpac from the Philippines.

Ms. Ingrid Oleivera representing GFRAS delivered a welcoming speech, explaining that the objective of the study is to have a better understanding of digital solutions work in the region, challenges and potentials, the conclusions and future recommendations for all actors to support RAS, and Promote cross learning. 


Dr Eric Palacpac moderated the presentation and discussions during the webinar.  Dr Eric is Chief Knowledge Management Division, Department of Agriculture – Philippines Carabao Center. He was the former President of the Philippines Extension and Advisory Services Network (PhilEASNet). Dr. Eric introduced the three speakers to the webinar participants and facilitated the discussions.

A glance of the introduction was shared by Dr Siti Amanah as the  Chairperson of RASSEA. She explained the background, objective, approach and strategies to undertake the Digital RAS study in two selected countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It was briefly explained that the rapid development of ICT has changed strategies in the agricultural sector, especially in terms of increasing farmers’ or producer’s knowledge and skills so that they can produce quality and competitive products. With the development of information and communication technology, the agricultural extension approach has transformed from a process that requires the full support of extension workers to a very independent extension where farmers seek and obtain information with the support of information technology. 

Dr Ranny Mutiara presents learning from an Indonesia case study, My Agri, a Digital RAS App focused on Horticulture. Share the overall profile and key findings explored towards its user characteristics and dynamic, services and benefits, current business model, impact and challenges. Mentions the conclusions of the My Agri case study that is Digital agriculture extension offers great potential to assist farmers, extension workers, and other users with access to real-time information, including on-farm and off-farm solutions. The challenges and constraints in scaling up the services, among others, are institutionalization issues, technical aspects (such as Accessibility, Human Resource capacity development) and sustainability (such as Business Model Development, Financial Plan, Technology & Services Innovations and Political Will). 

Dr Arlene Flores presents Learning from the Philippines case study, The Rice Crop Manager Advisory Services (RCMAS), a suite of complementary tools integrated into a single digital platform in Rice. Share the overall profile and key findings explored towards its users, current partnership/business model, results and impacts, challenges and lessons learned, and its specific recommendations. Mentions the conclusions of RCMAS case study that Digitally supported extension/RAS provided benefit, usefulness, recognition towards performance and promoted inclusive development to farmers and implementers. There are a number of challenges that need to be addressed to support the digital transformation in agricultural extension among others, are institutionalization, technical aspects (such as Infrastructure, Digital tools, Human Resource capacity development, and Data) and sustainability (such as Partnership & collaboration Development and Financial). 

Major highlights from the Discussion towards Strategic Framework to promote Digital RAS among priorities were presented by Ms Lani Eugenia and Dr Epsi Euriga. The key insights presented include (1) Multi-stakeholder awareness, partnership and collaboration to give more impact (scalability and sustainability of Digital RAS) and business model development that fulfills the needs of farmers, (2) HR Capacity Development towards technology (especially for extension workers and farmers), (3) ICT Infrastructure (especially in rural areas, strengthening local/village extension center), (4) Government Support: Policy (Policy Development and Regulations in Digital RAS). (5) Financing (Long term finance; integrating into the MoA/DA, cooperation and partnership with the private sector and investors, including incentives for experts or extension workers)

In the closing statement, Ms Ingrid Oliveira invited the audiences to participate in the global events of GFRAS that will exchange learning about digital RAS study from different regions. A reminder about the next webinar was also notified. Before the webinar closed, Ms. Harieta Julie Zefanya Matondang as the MC invited all attendees to take photo sessions. 

May 10th, 2023

 RASSEA Study Team

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