By Niño Manaog and Cora Navarra
Ti, anong maayo? (So, what’s good?) This must have summed up WESVARRDEC’s recent Negros cross visit, inspired from one of the speeches of Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Ramon Peñalosa of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental who was one of the hosts of the visit.
Under the auspices of the Regional Techno Gabay Group (RTGG) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC), some 17 Magsasaka Siyentista (MS), 15 managers of the Farmers Information and Technological Services (FITS) Centers, and various team leaders of the consortium’s RTG including WESVARRDEC staff toured Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental through their collaboration with the RTGG of the Central Visayas Consortium for Integrated Regional Research and Development (CVCIRRD) from June 15 to 19, 2009.
The delegation composed of 60 participants visited the farm and laboratory of Ramon Peñalosa in Victorias City, Negros Occidental. Touring Negros Oriental, the team then proceeded to the host consortium CVCIRRD who brought them to Amor Vermi Farm in Dumaguete City, the home of Greenbase vermi-compost bio-organic fertilizer and Microbase, a beneficial microorganism liquid concentrate ideal for livestock and poultry and solid waste and water treatment practices.
The WESVARRDEC team also toured Siquijor island, visiting the FITS Centers of Maria, Lazi and Larena, among others. In FITS Maria, they witnessed an ongoing food processing training. They were also hosted by FITS Pangi in Siquijor.
On the fourth day of tour, the team went to a pilot Bio-Diesel Processing Plant in Bayawan City, a joint project of the city mayor’s office and the office of the city agriculturist. They also checked out a water treatment facility in Bayawan City.
In all, the participants visited the farms of two MS—one in Siquijor and another in Bayawan , Negros Oriental. The visit was capped by a fellowship dinner on July 18, 2009 hosted by the CVCIRRD under the leadership of Director Peter Dayot of the Negros Oriental State University (NOrSU).
FITS Manager Eva Montero who is based in Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State Colleges (NIPSC) in Batad, Iloilo, said “I was impressed with our visit to Bayawan City (Negros Oriental). I admired the effort of the city government to implement programs such as the biodiesel plant.” According to Montero, the initiative has not only helped them solve the problem on their diesel fuel expenses but also have given alternative livelihood to the farmers. On the other hand, MS Baltazar Gumana of FITS Pavia in Iloilo suggested that in the future he expects more interaction with fellow MS from the host region.
Ti, anong maayo? Peñalosa’s question must have summed up the essence of the entire cross visit or study tour, owing to the main purpose of the said lakbay aral. The activity aimed to provide learning for the participants and knowledge and technology sharing between and among MS, FITS managers and AFNR enthusiasts.