Covid-19 grift continues  

The corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is a “gift” – or, more accurately, grift – that keeps on giving.  

I have resigned myself to not receiving any of the ayuda money which, at some point, was supposed to be distributed to everyone, per media reports. Although it is now 2022 and the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have eased considerably, I sure can still use the ayuda

But my waiting may be about to end. I received two text messages saying I am a  beneficiary of “cash amelioration fund”. The messages do not say where the money is coming from and which government agency sent them.  

I suppose they thought that, after reading “cash amelioration fund”, I would be so overcome with joy I won’t bother to find out the “minor” details. 

The first message I received, on May 12, from 09814674321 said: “Social amelioration cash support which you’re one of the beneficiary (sic). Email contact (sic) the administrator to brief you – kimmelax307@gmail.com”  

Wonder if he/she is related to popular television host Jimmy Kimmel. 

The other text message, sent Apr. 29, came from 09481367249: “SOCIAL AMELIORATION FUND FOR SENIOR CITIZEN, IT IS OFFICIAL FOR YOU TO CONTACT ADMINISTRATOR (sic) @ caramaysawal63@gmail.com” 

Despite it being “official for you”, I did not bother to contact the administrator. 

I am certain that, instead of getting the fund, they will try to get money from me. I hope other recipients of these text messages did not fall for them.   

Future food systems transformation  

Food sufficiency and security issues have become important globally because of continuous population growth and climate change. The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict also brought into sharp relief how vulnerable countries can be with unexpected disruptions. 

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are getting expert advice and assistance from international organizations in preparing for disruptions in the agri-food sector. 

A series of technical consultation workshops were organized by the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), together with seven other centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), under the guidance of the CGIAR regional director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. 

The series discussed with ASEAN member states national and regional needs for future food systems transformation. 

Participating ASEAN members were Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. Bilateral meetings were held with Singapore, Brunei and Myanmar.  

The consultations were meant to advance the goal of building a new ASEAN-CGIAR research program that would gather insights on ways for CGIAR to help address food systems challenges, provide strategic direction and support existing agricultural research and development in the region. 

Stakeholders in both public and private sectors were invited to the consultations to help draw up plans that reflected each country’s priorities. 

Cross-cutting issues differ in context by country but some thematic areas were identified where ASEAN countries could conduct consultations on and collaborate: 

* Climate-smart agriculture and aquaculture 

* Policy, market integration and trade 

* Nourishing Asian mega cities and peri-urban areas 

* Climate change and green recovery 

* Mechanization and modernization (digitization) of agriculture 

* Germplasm exchange for evaluation network for crops, livestock and fisheries for regional safety 

* Harnessing the use of local agricultural biodiversity 

* Strengthening cooperation through institutions 

* Youth and women entrepreneurship and technology 

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