The Southeast Asia Regional Initiative for Community Empowerment
The Southeast Asia Regional Initiative for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) is a regional civil society organization based in the Philippines that is working in several countries in Asia. It aims to strengthen farmers’ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources. Towards this end, SEARICE implements various programs and activities such as, participatory plant breeding including working with State institutions towards recognizing and supporting farmers’ roles in conserving and improving plant genetic resources (PGR); research and documentation on farmers’ initiatives in PGR use; lobbying with governments for adoption of policies and programs that will support farmer-based conservation and development of PGR; campaigns to raise public awareness on the threats and challenges facing PGR diversity for food and agriculture; and, engagement in various international platforms (such as the ITPGRF A, CBD and UNFCCC) in order to help broaden global awareness and to institutionalize good practices and policies. SEARICE considers patents, plant variety protection and other forms of IPRs on agricultural genetic resources as a key issue to work on in so far as these affect farmers’ access to and use of seeds. SEARICE is actively working at local, national and international levels towards enhancing and promoting policies and legislations related to governance of PGR. SEARICE works with various stakeholders to strengthen modalities of ensuring farmers’ continuing access to seeds.