By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications
2009 has been harvest year for WESVARRDEC. During its Yearend Strategic Meeting in December 2009, Aklan State University was named outstanding partner member agency (PMA) Award while the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Guimaras was named best FITS Center.
Then, towards the end of the year, Magsasaka Siyentista Rebecca Tubongbanua of the FITS) OPA Guimaras was conferred one of the successful agri-entrepreneurs across the region by the Department of Agriculture – Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Division (DA-AMAD) Region 6.
Tubongbanua received the recognition in the awarding rites and investment forum led by DA-AMAD on December 15, 2009 at the Iloilo Grand Hotel in Iloilo City.
MAY MANGGAD SA MANGGA
(There is profit in mango)
(Clockwise from top left) MS Rebecca C. Tubongbanua receives the recognition along with her husband Nestor (second and third from left) from DA 6 RTD Joyce Wendam (third from left), as witnessed by DA-AMAD 6 Chief Ma Teresa Solis (extreme right) and Francisco Ramos III, Director of Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Services (AMAS) of the DA national office (extreme left); the two page-article on MS Tubongbanua in Secretary Yap's agribusiness book; MS Tubongbanua promotes her McNester mango product line; and well wishers for MS Tubongbanua include fellow MSs, Jose Maria Eclavia (extreme left) of Igbaras, Iloilo and Ramon Gonzales of Bingawan, Iloilo (third from left); MS Tubongbanua's mango products were also sold in the venue (foreground).
According to Ma. Teresa Solis, DA-AMAD 6 Chief, the rites sought to give due recognition for the outstanding contribution of farmer producers to agribusiness in the region. The investment forum that came with it likewise sought to disseminate the practices of these exemplary agri-preneurs to the rest of Iloilo.
“There is much hope in agriculture,” said Joyce Wendam, DA’s regional technical director for Western Visayas. Wendam said farmers like Tubongbanua are the “hope of other farmers,” because they unselfishly share their best practices to the rest of the community. Wendam said that the likes of Tubongbanua are models because they virtually improve the lives of other people, even as they continue to innovate their profitable technologies.
In fact, the citation was based on being one of the Successful Agri-preneurs featured in The Art of Agribusiness: 111 Stories and More Success Stories in Agri-Entrepreneurship, a book published by Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap in 2009.
In a two-page article titled “Mango Products the Guimaras Way,” Tubongbanua was featured for her successful venture in mango processing technology in what is now famous and profitable McNester Food Products based in barangay San Isidro, Buenavista, Guimaras.
The book also features a number of Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the PCARRD family across the country including Victoria Motril, the “banana queen of the south” (banana chips processor from Cotabato) and Raul Carreras, award-winning corn farmer from Tigaon, Camarines Sur. Both MS were part of the consortia who visited WESVARRDEC in December last year.
In the investment forum featuring the award-winning agri-preneurs, Tubongbanua presented her McNester product line and promoted her mango processed products. While McNester is not an overnight success, Tubongbanua stressed on its continuous research in order to innovate and further the mango processing technologies.
Tubongbanua stressed that her success has not come without the encouragement and assistance of government institutions and agencies such as Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Plant Industry – National Mango Research and Development Center (BPI-NMRDC) and the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC). Tubongbanua expressed joy because her business is able to help and inspire other people as well.
MS Jose Maria Eclavia of FITS Igbaras and MS Ramon Gonzales of FITS Bingawan also took part in the forum. Both appointed MS by WESVARRDEC last year, Gonzales maintains a banana plantation in Bingawan, Iloilo while Eclavia also processes mango in barangay Barasan in Igbaras, Iloilo.