Friday, January 07, 2011

5 FITS centers launched in Capiz in 8 days

By Niño Saavedra Manaog
University Extension Associate
Capiz State University

Mega launch—this is how Nicolas Banquero, Regional Techno Gabay Staff of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) described the establishment of five new Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) centers across the province of Capiz held recently.

In the last week of November 2010, WESVARRDEC launched FITS centers in the towns of Dao (November 23); Ivisan and Panay (November 29) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Capiz and President Roxas (November 30).

And pursuant to the deadline set by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), WESVARRDEC launched 17 new farmers’ centers in all across the region within two weeks. These included 7 in Iloilo; 5 in Capiz; 2 each for Negros Occidental and Guimaras; and 1 in Aklan.

Under Executive Order 801 otherwise known as “Encouraging Local Government Units to Adopt the Techno Gabay Program in their Agricultural Programs and the Concerned Government Agencies to Provide the Required Assistance for the Purpose,” PCARRD’s Techno Gabay modality is highly endorsed for adoption and implementation by different local government units (LGUs) nationwide. The Executive Order was signed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in May 2009.

According to Capiz State University Techno Gabay Team Leader Eduardo Navarra, the quick and positive response of the local government units to hasten the establishment of FITS centers in their localities was a good sign. For Navarra, the move of the LGUs will further speed up the delivery of information and technology services in their areas.

The establishment of new FITS centers was warmly welcomed by the beneficiaries and stakeholders. For Vice-Mayor Gualberto Bernas of Panay, Capiz, the FITS center will be “useful to the farmers” and thus there is a “need to sustain it.” Instead of anticipating what they can get from it, Bernas challenged the residents of Panay to assume the FITS center with full responsibility, even saying that Panay could not wait longer so they could share their best practices to other municipalities. Bernas urged stakeholders to take charge of the facilities to be entrusted to them and said that the residents of Panay will surely benefit from the fast and modern information that can enhance their farming and technology practices.

Meanwhile, Bernardo Loretizo, committee on agriculture and fisheries chairman of President Roxas, Capiz encouraged the constituents to make use of the FITS center as opportunity from which they could benefit—“Magpalapit kamo sa FITS—mapuslan naton ini.”

According to Dr. Anna Mae Relingo, Regional Techno Gabay coordinator of WESVARRDEC, the addition of new farmers’ centers to the existing roster is set to boost its performance as they will reach out to and serve more farmers and similar other clients in the countryside. As partner member agency, Capiz State University serves to monitor their performance and progress of the new FITS centers.

The launching of said FITS centers was fully supported by the CapSU Extension Institute led by Dr. Raul Ticar, Regional Applied Communication Committee Coordinator, Dr. Cora Navarra and Techno Gabay Team Leader Eduardo Navarra.

Members of the new FITS centers have identified their prospective Magsasaka Siyentista and their respective focus commodities which WESVARRDEC can help package and promote once its intervention is in full swing.

At this writing, TG Team Leader Navarra announced that the FITS Centers managed by CapSU will have their general meeting in the third week of January 2011. Agenda include the search for prospective Magsasaka Siyentista and the identification of focus commodities, FITS logbook and STBF proposals.

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