By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications
In the last quarter of 2009, the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) played gracious host to some 60 members representing three national consortia who chose to conduct Lakbay-Aral in the Panay and Negros islands. From November through December 2009, WESVARRDEC hosted cross-visitors from three consortia, and facilitated the tour learning of their visitors through the trips to Panay region.
(Clockwise from top left) Visitors from CARRDEC while away the time after the dinner hosted at Breakthrough restaurant; RAC Coordinator Cora Navarra of the Capiz State University (CapSU) host visitors from SMARRDEC; and RTG Coordinator Grace Breizuela of BCARRD hands the plaque of appreciation to WESVARRDEC Director Joseph Edward Idemne in Ocean City restaurant.
First, on November 18, 2009, WESVARRDEC welcomed cross-visitors from the Cotabato Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (CARRDEC) led by RTG Coordinator Cayetano Pomares.
Like many other visitors of Negros region, the delegation toured the Victorias City farms of Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Ramon Peñalosa of the Farmers Information and Technology Services Center (FITS) based in the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Negros Occidental. Having now become popular for his integrated natural farming practices, Peñalosa lures more and more tourists and visitors from across the country, hosting groups of visitors almost every week.
In visiting the One-Stop-Information Shop of WESVARRDEC on November 18, 2009, MS Victoria Motril of CARRDEC likewise found the video on probiotics-based swine culture by MS Peñalosa very informative. Motril said that such is an improved if not better version of the Korean way of swine-raising. MS Cesar Berame of Matalam, Cotabato also found the probiotics swine video convincing, and certainly “a big help for the farmers.”
On December 1, 2009, WESVARRDEC welcomed the delegation from the Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMARRDEC) led by Consortium Director Lourdes Generalao.
The SMARRDEC delegation included FITS Managers, representatives from partner member agencies and workers from the local government unit (LGU). In a dinner hosted by WESVARRDEC at the Breakthrough Restaurant in Villa, Iloilo City, consortium directors Generalao and Joseph Idemne expressed gratitude and appreciation for efforts and interest of respective members to learn from each other’s consortia.
RTG Focal Person Nicolas Banquero meanwhile facilitated the safe trips of the contingents to Capiz State University where they were hosted by RAC Coordinator Cora Navarra; and Aklan State University where they were hosted by RTG Coordinator Anna Mae Relingo. MS Gary Andrade of FITS Banga generously shared his knowledge and technologies on environmental management which he practices in his darag farm in Libas, Banga, Aklan.
Part of the itinerary of the contingents was the tour of the undisputed, most popular tourist destination in the country, Boracay Island situated in Malay town in Aklan.
On December 10, 2009, WESVARRDEC received visitors from the Bicol Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development (BCARRD) led by Regional Techno Gabay Coordinator Grace Brizuela.
In a speech during a dinner that WESVARRDEC hosted at the Ocean City Restaurant in downtown Iloilo on December 11, 2009, RTG Coordinator Brizuela expressed appreciation to the consortium for hosting their delegation.
Among others, the BCARRD visitors included national winner MS Antonio Carreras from Tigaon, Camarines Sur. In an interview, MS Carreras said he was impressed by the organic farming and technology practiced by MS Ramon Peñalosa of FITS OPA Negros Occidental,. Carreras claimed he would replicate aspects of it in his own farm in Bicol.
The delegation also toured the processing site of MS Rebecca Tubongbanua in San Isidro, Buenavista Guimaras. Dennis Lunas, Administrative Officer of BCARRD, said that the McNester Food Products has so much to offer for mango enthusiasts. The delegation packed bagsful of mango processed products when they returned to Bicol.
According to RTG Focal Person Nicolas Banquero of WESVARRDEC, facilitating the cross visits towards the end of the year 2009 has afforded the consortium more appreciation of technologies, products and agri-tourism by the members of the fellow consortia across the country.