Living and Learning in Rural Southeast Asia: The Program Where Academe, Scientists, Farmers, and Policymakers Converged to Promote Farmers’ Rights and Biodiversity

  • Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
  • Laura Cliche


Small land owners are now faced with multiple challenges. Apart from their daily survival, they confront an often fragile environment, consequence of either years of single-crop farming or climate change, drought, poor quality yet expensive seeds, and scarcity of land. Needless to say, addressing these issues requires a holistic approach, where social, economic, community, and policy measures have to be considered. Rare are the programs able to join these spheres in a symbiosis, especially when it comes to gathering all the key actors. Through recognizing the difficult path ahead, Southeast Asian civil society organizations have taken crucial initiatives to reinvigorate the agricultural practices, thus protecting the fragile biodiversity while launching capacitybuilding processes with farmers. The Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation–Biodiversity Use of Conservation in Asia Programme (CBDC-BUCAP), conceptualized and implemented by SEARICE, is one of such initiatives. This article offers a comprehensive assessment of the nature of and the work undertaken by CBDCBUCAP, presenting an overview of its components, participants, contributions, main results, and the challenges to be addressed in the future.


farmers; seeds saving; knowledge; biodiversity; farmers’ rights