Thursday, December 17, 2009

Techno Pinoy Center opened in Numancia, Aklan

By Salvacion Villasis
Regional Applied Communications
Aklan State University

The Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) opened its 39th Farmers Information and Technology Service (FITS) or Techno Pinoy Center on December 10, 2009 at the Numancia Town Hall in Poblacion, Numancia, Aklan.

Leading the launch and formally opening the farmers’ center to the public were Numancia Mayor Elverita Templonuevo who represented the local government and Dr. Alicia Lustica, Regional Technical Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who represented WESVARRDEC Director Joseph Edward Idemne and UPV Chancellor and RRDCC Chair Minda Formacion.

Templonuevo expressed gratitude to WESVARRDEC and its partner member institutions for the opportunities given to them."Indeed, dreams do come true. After six years, the dream of the Municipality of Numancia to have a FITS Center became a beautiful reality,” Templonuevo said.

(Clockwise from top left) Major stakeholders sign the memorandum of agreement;
the elevated FITS billboard prominently placed at the center's road vicinity promotes technology sharing; an extensive array of IEC materials are found in the FITS open shelves for farmers and researchers alike; and Dr. Alicia Lustica confirms WESVARRDEC's commitment to support the initiative. One center shy of forty, WESVARRDEC's 39th farmers' center launched in Numancia, Aklan extends farmers' wider access to technologies that will enhance their productivity.

Lustica likewise expressed her appreciation for the realization of the Numancia FITS Center after six years of conceptualization.

Regional Techno Gabay Team Leader Dr. Clyde Abayon headed the Aklan State University (ASU) team, the partner member agency; while Provincial Agriculturist William Castillo represented the Aklan provincial government.

Witnessing the launch were some 70 participants composed of town officials, employees of the Municipal Agriculture Office; officials from the 17 barangays of Numancia; FITS managers from Nabas and Altavas and their staff; and officers and members of farmers’ and women’s organizations in Numancia.

Regional Techno Gabay Coordinator Dr. Anna Mae Relingo presented the Techno Gabay Program, followed by the signing of Memorandum of Agreement between the two entities.

Vice-president for Research and Extension Dr. Roberto L. Saladar, representing the president of Aklan State University, stressed on the opportunities and directions on the role of the university as partner member agency and its commitment to support the LGU Numancia through the FITS Center.

Sought to be the source of information and technology services to help farmers, entrepreneurs and clients in enhancing their products and technology, FITS Numancia is set to become a service delivery system providing accessibility and availability of information for both experts and farmers.

Numancia counts vermicast as its primary commodity and high-value vegetables as its secondary commodities.

ASU named WESVARRDEC’s first outstanding PMA

By Salvacion Villasis
Regional Applied Communications
Aklan State University

For its “exemplary monitoring of the performance of all FITS Centers under its supervision in compliance with their annual reports and work and financial plan,” the Aklan State University (ASU) was conferred the first Outstanding Partner Member Agency (PMA) award by the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) during its Yearend Strategic Meeting held December 9, 2009 at the Sunset Terrace Hall in Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City.

The winning ASU team—led by President Benny A. Palma (sixth from left), the first PMA recognized by the consortium—receives the award from WESVARRDEC led by RRDCC Chair Minda J. Formacion (fifth from left), chancellor of UP Visayas. The WESVARRDEC team was led by (from left to right) RTG Coordinator Ana Mae Relingo, RMISG Coordinator Nilo Araneta, RACG Coordinator Cora Navarra and Consortium Director Joseph Edward O Idemne.

Recognized for its effective implementation of the Techno Gabay Program for the past years, the university headed by its president, Dr. Benny A. Palma, received a special trophy made from corn husks by one of the farmer cooperators in Farmers Information and Technological Services (FITS) Center Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental; a certificate of recognition; and P10,000 prize.

The said award was achieved by the university through the untiring effort of the ASU Techno Gabay Team led by Dr. Clyde G. Abayon with Dr. Elsa I. Abayon, Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) representatives, Dr. Lelisa J. Teodosio, RMIS representative and Ms. Sally R. Villasis, RACO representative.

An active partner member agency in most of consortium’s activities, ASU assists programs and members of the FITS centers in Banga, Ibajay, Nabas, Altavas, all municipalities of Aklan; and FITS Center Libertad, its sole member in the province of Antique.

The search for Outstanding PMA in the Region aims to honor and recognize the contribution of the prime movers of the attainment of the WESVARRDEC’s programs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WESVARRDEC MS featured in ABS-CBN’s “Sikat Ka, Iloilo”

By Niño S. Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

More technologies, more mileage.

For the fifth time this year, farmer scientists or Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) have been featured in ABS-CBN Iloilo’s “Sikat Ka, Iloilo,” a daily news and public affairs program of ABS-CBN Iloilo hosted by anchorman, Atty. Jobert Peñaflorida.

(Clockwise from top left) In August 2009, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Rebecca Tubongbanua of FITS OPA Guimaras and her FITS Manager Judy Bulquiren reply to questions by ABS-CBN Iloilo anchorman Jobert Peñaflorida; MS Ramon Peñalosa and Dr. Cora Navarra share the probiotic technology in October; WESVARRDEC team introduce the consortium in July; and FITS Pavia's MS Joselito Pudadera and his media exposure in September solicited a number of queries about darag native chicken from potential raisers across Iloilo province.

This December, MS Baltazar Gumana of the Farmers Information and Technology Services Center (FITS) Center in Pavia, Iloilo will be featured for his cutflower culture.

In the previous months, three other MS were featured in the program. In August, “Sikat Ka, Iloilo” featured MS Rebecca Tubongbanua of FITS OPA Guimaras, who is a processor entrepreneur famous for her McNester mango process products.

In September, MS Joselito Pudadera who maintains a darag native chicken farm in Leganes, Iloilo also shared his native chicken production guide, which gained the feedback of potential darag raisers from Iloilo towns. Then, October featured MS Ramon Peñalosa Jr. of FITS OPA Negros Occidental who advocates organic farming and practices probiotics-based swine culture in his Victoria City farms.

According to Dr. Cora F. Navarra, RAC Coordinator, what is significant about these media appearances is the responses that it draws from viewers across the region. In various instances, a number of queries have been made with WESVARRDEC office on the MS’s respective technologies and commodities which were seen on TV. Navarra said that with such results, the purpose of the consortium’s partnership with ABS CBN is indeed gaining fruition.

In July WESVARRDEC first appeared on the program to introduce the consortium to the viewers. The team included WESVARRDEC Director Joseph Edward Idemne and Regional Techno Gabay Coordinator Ana Mae Relingo and Regional Management Information System Coordinator Nilo Araneta .

Through the coordination of its Regional Applied Communications (RAC), these media promotion initiatives are consistent with the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between WESVARRDEC and ABS-CBN Iloilo in May this year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

MS, FITS products shine in PCARRD’s 37th anniversary

By Cora Navarra and Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

It was a job well done.

Or more aptly, a prolific display of the consortium’s (Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium) “unwavering support” to PCARRD.

During PCARRD’s 37th Anniversary Celebration on November 9–13, 2009 at the PCARRD headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, WESVARRDEC brought and promoted numerous products from the various FITS centers across Western Visayas, an effort which gained appreciation from PCARRD’s Applied Communication Division (ACD) headed by Director Lily Ann Lando.

Through the efforts of the Regional Applied Communication Committee (RAC), WESVARRDEC brought some six groups of products and commodities from various FITS centers, which were included in PCARRD’s “Food for the Table” and “Export Winners” exhibits on its newly inaugurated One-Stop Information Shop (OSIS).

These products included Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Amelia Rentillo’s photo and certificate frames and table runners made from raffia and abaca fibers and fossilized soursop leaves. Rentillo represented the Farmers Information and Technological Services (FITS) Center in Banga, Aklan. Novelty products made from corn waste by the Creative Young Corn Crafters Association (CYCCA) of FITS Center in Batad, Iloilo included flower pieces made by FITS Manager Eva Montero’s students in the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) which have virtually served as table centerpieces across PCARRD’s OSIS.

PCARRD employees (above right) cannot seem to get enough of this FITS Batad corn husk flower centerpiece which adorned the OSIS.

These PDDCP-assisted folding bamboo slats
(below left) made by MS Norberto Ceballos occupied the time of PCHI contingent led by Executive Director Salvio Valenzuela, Jr.

The Maasin bamboo products also performed well. MS Norberto Ceballos’s folding bamboo slats whose designs and settings were improved by the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines (PDDCP) in September this year likewise adorned PCARRD’s OSIS. The two sets were all purchased by PCARRD employees. Also, the condiments trays by Jovic Maido properly laid out the bottle products on display and even impressed BCARRD’s RACO Coordinator Marissa Estrella who purchased six pieces of the products for their pili oil bottles.

MS Ramon Peñalosa’s Monchito’s probiotic pork from FITS OPA Negros Occidental was served in PCARRD’s Multipurpose Cooperative Canteen (PMPCC) while the salad dressings sold out and gained good feedback from visitors, among them, Philippine Chamber of Handicraft Industries, Inc. (PHCI) Executive Director Salvio Valenzuela, Jr.

Meanwhile, efforts contributed by FITS Moises Padilla similarly did not go unnoticed. All novelty products shipped by Information Service Specialist (ISS) Danlee Mangao from the far-fetched Negros Occidental town caught the attention of ACD Assistant Director Cesar Frias, who even brought the resinated hot pads, lacquer ware and trophies (made with rice hull, banana trunks and coco shells) to the MEGMA exhibit in Megamall in the following week.

Among others, the McNester products of MS Rebecca Tubongbanua made one of the best impressions. On the last day of exhibit when every consortium has already packed, two cross-visitors from Nueva Ecija bargained with WESVARRDEC to buy the famed yellow ketchup and mango sauce which were left on OSIS display.

Most important, WESVARRDEC brought MS Rebecca Tubongbanua’s mango processing technology who generously shared her mango sauce recipe to the PCARRD employees and guests for two days. Tubongbanua’s mango sauce cooking gained favorable feedback from free tasters who seemed not to get enough of the new taste rendered by Tubongbanua’s innovative dish. The spaghetti treat in which mango sauce was used was well received by young and old alike. In a survey form prepared by WESVARRDEC RAC, it was observed that most fellow consortia members liked the taste of the dishes prepared.

Even CVARRD's RAC Coordinator Vanessa Carriedo (above left) cannot resist these McNester's succulent mango treats--mango ketchup and mango jam--which are always bestsellers.

At this writing, WESVARRDEC’s efforts to promote FITS and MS products are currently getting further mileage. The products which made substantial sales in the anniversary are now consigned in PCARRD Multipurpose Cooperative Canteen while MS Tubongbanua has again been invited to have her product demo again in a media press conference to be hosted by PCARRD in the third week of December.

WESVARRDEC members prop up bamboo initiative

By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

It is noteworthy that some LGU members of the WESVARRDEC family openly took on the bamboo initiative during the Engineered Bamboo Upscaling Project Roadshow led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 6 held on December 02, 2009 at Sarabia Manor Hotel’s Siete Pecados Hall in Iloilo City.

Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center Manager Ronelyn de Tomas of Dumalag, Capiz considered the roadshow a good opportunity through which she can help train the bamboo farmers in their locality. Although their FITS Center was newly launched they have been making efforts to train their potential Magsasaka Siyentista in various exposures. According to De Tomas, they are not only interested but are also committed to taking on the bamboo initiative as this can help more cooperators in their community’s organization.

In late July this year, members of FITS Dumalag toured FITS Maasin in an effort to replicate in their own area the popular bamboo technology found in Maasin, Iloilo. The contingent was led by WESVARRDEC RACO Coordinator Cora Navarra.

De Tomas is currently grooming Randy Fancubila, a furniture maker chairman of a 28-member community cooperative to become their future Magsasaka Siyentista (MS). Since the inception of their cooperative, Fancubila has been sent to a series of seminars and trainings in various locations. Next year, De Tomas will apply for the evaluation of their potential MS by WESVARRDEC.

By and large, the initiative taken by Dumalag, among others, is way beyond optimism. Mr. Fancubila’s wood machinery background is a plus since the same types of technology can easily be utilized to beef up bamboo production, notwithstanding his interest and willingness to be trained on the technology. Mr. Fancubila himself envisions Dumalag, being the biggest town in the area, to serve as bamboo hub of Tapaz, Dumarao and neighboring towns of Capiz in the future.

Also supporting the bamboo initiative were Maasin FITS Manager Luzvisminda Casio, who has been championing Maasin bamboo, and FITS Manager Jose Ebalan of Igbaras, Iloilo.

Meanwhile, WESVARRDEC itself has taken on the bamboo initiative to a higher level by promoting bamboo products from FITS Center Maasin in various expositions. This year alone, Regional Applied Communications (RAC) Coordinator Cora Navarra and Staff Niño Manaog brought and promoted the bamboo products by MS Norberto Ceballos and other subcontractors to the Panaad sa Negros Festival in April and also sold functional bamboo products in PCARRD’s 37th Anniversary in Los Baños in November.

To bring the bamboo products closer to commercialization, WESVARRDEC will host the Local Product Team (LPT) Workshop with FITS Maasin. The LPT initiative will further define what projects to pursue for bamboo products and innovation for FITS Maasin (for example, bamboo lamination technology) through the intervention of PCARRD under its Technomart initiative which is currently in full swing. PCARRD’s Applied Communication Division (ACD) will take charge of the LPT workshop early next year.

More prospects for bamboo in Panay

By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

During the Engineered Bamboo Upscaling Project Roadshow led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 6 held in Iloilo City recently, we saw more and better possibilities through which bamboo producers can profit from the commodity.

Some 50 participants representing active bamboo enthusiasts, LGUs, livelihood cooperatives, researchers from the academe and the media flocked to Sarabia Manor Hotel’s Siete Pecados Hall to know what more is in store for bamboo here in the region.

Foremost, the bamboo project framework presented by DTI Region 3 Director Bles Lantayona and Cottage Industry Technology Center (CITC) Director Franklin Bunuan set the parameters into which Iloilo bamboo producers can contribute in the bigger map. The roadmap made it clear that “bamboo has not really become a cash crop for the farmers in the country” therefore more initiatives to beef up the industry can be gained from the Region 3 model. To put it simply, the framework detailed the three pillars targeted by the bamboo initiative, namely: poverty mitigation, disaster mitigation and climate change mitigation.

The roadshow also featured the best practices of Myrna Bituin, bamboo enthusiasts-entrepreneur from Pampanga. Considering herself as DTI baby (bamboo producer who benefited from the DTI initiative since 1972), the Betiscrafts director banks on social responsibility for its personnel and manpower as key to their success.

An active exporter of bamboo products based in Pampanga, Bituin who was Golden Shell Awardee back in the 80s, stressed that small bamboo producers who substantially supply engineered bamboo ought to make money. Bituin said that in bamboo pre-processing itself, everyone involved should already earn, saying, “Kung ang nagtanim ng kawayan ay hindi na manginginabang, bakit pa sila magtatanim?”

Bituin also shared that bamboo technology in China is not necessarily high-technology; only that they see the significant use of each part of the bamboo poles and profit from them. Bituin also encouraged bamboo farmers to use bamboo wisely by being able to rehabilitate and virtually manage the bamboo farm from which they harvest. Furthermore, bamboo producers in Iloilo can also avail themselves of the services of the training center whose technology is offered to everyone.

Among other discussions, DTI enjoined the participants to see themselves as a bamboo hub, an entity supplied by nodes (bamboo subcontractors).

Before the day ended, participants representing bamboo cooperatives and bamboo entrepreneurs joined the small-group discussion led by the guest panel and DTI Region 6.

In the bamboo upscaling initiative, it was encouraged that engineered bamboo, or e-bamboo is more viable because the pre-processed material can be made into many other possible products.

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