SEARCA received 1,455 photo entries in the three-month submission period that started in1 September 2017. Open to Southeast Asian nationals, the 2017 photo contest centered on the theme Agriculture for All, by All: moving forward on agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia, which coincided with the new chapter in SEARCA's existence, a year after it celebrated its 50th founding anniversary.
The selection process for the best photos was in three stages—international scholars of SEARCA and staff were involved in shortlisting the entries, and external judges selected the three best photos of the year. The judges included international and Filipino photographers and professionals in the creative industry.
As a curatorial endeavor, the photo contest collected images on the current progress in Southeast Asian agriculture, focusing on inclusive growth, sustainability, and innovations. Photo submissions showed the diversities and similarities of landscapes and peoples of Southeast Asia, as countries individually and collectively improve the agriculture sector, still the biggest source of livelihood for the majority of the region's population.
The photo by Tien Ho Anh, which emerged as first place, focused on a woman pleasantly contemplating on a seemingly bountiful cropping season as she winnows harvested rice to separate grain from chaff. The second placer photo by Ho Dang Khoa is a colorful spread, elevating the common look of a traditional vegetable market; while the third placer photo by Vu Thanh depicts simple fishnet mending almost as an artwork.
The three winning photos received cash prizes and will be featured in the various regular publications of SEARCA.
SEARCA is a non-profit organization established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education (SEAMEO) and is its center of excellence in Agriculture. SEARCA provides to its member countries high quality graduate study in agriculture; promotes, undertakes, and coordinates research programs related to the needs and problems of the Southeast Asian region; and disseminates the findings of agricultural research.