In light of the growing importance of agriculture to the region's food security and overall development, there is a need to educate and bring to the public's consciousness the challenges it faces and the necessity of efforts to promote agricultural and rural development (ARD).
The challenges include unabated population growth, climate change, land degradation and dwindling natural resource base, compounded with an aging farming generation and waning interest among the youth in agriculture as a field of study and source of livelihood.
SEARCA's historic and traditional response is through its three functions, namely, graduate education and institutional development, research and development, and knowledge management.
Starting in FY2015/2016, the Center started conceptualizing an alternative mode of promoting awareness and appreciation, educating, and empowering a wide spectrum of stakeholders on the plight of agriculture. An innovative Southeast Asian AgriMuseum, possibly the first in the region, is seen as an alternative education facility for getting across the message of the urgency of ARD to concerned stakeholders and to enjoin them to rally behind the cause.
The Southeast Asian AgriMuseum aims to:
The museum/learning center will be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of users including youths/students, farmers, development practitioners, policy and decision makers, researchers, media professionals, and the general public. This is so that they would appreciate more deeply the role of agriculture in their own lives and in national development; and favor venturing into various ARD professions, becoming ARD's staunch supporters and doers.