Thursday, January 06, 2011

FITS Bago City is WESVARRDEC’s 48th

By Moniela dela Cruz, RACC Staff
& Cora F. Navarra, RACC Coordinator

It was one of those well-attended FITS Center launching programs.

Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) launched its 48th Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center, located in Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Packed in the city’s Agriculture office were some 120 participants including municipal officials and employees headed by Mayor Ramon Torres and Vice-Mayor Yulo, OPA Negros Occidental staff, farmers, barangay officials, student- representatives from the various schools in the area, and delegates from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R), the FITS Center’s Partner Member Agency (PMA).

In his welcome address, Vice-Mayor Yulo underscored the power of information and technology to help the farming community. He acknowledged that through the FITS interconnectivity, availability of new farming technologies can bridge the gap between the farm and the market. This is in line with WESVARRDEC and PCARRD’s thrust in making the FITS Centers avenues to market the products of the farmers. He also knows that whatever is happening elsewhere in the world for a particular industry affects local business so it is best to have access to information. He cited that a drop in the coffee business in Brazil has implications to coffee growers here in our country.

Believing that it is “better late than never”, Mayor Torres expressed his happiness that Bago City was able to beat the deadline on the launching of FITS Centers through the assistance and perseverance of UNO-R, its PMA. . He expressed that he is gearing most of his administration’s resources to agriculture, rising to the challenge of being tagged as the “rice granary of Negros Occidental”. He further said that there is “lots of work to be done” and that a “collective effort to uplift each other’s lives” is the call of the times.

On the other hand, Dr. Hector Penaranda expounded on the advantages of having a FITS Center and the roles of each stakeholder, while Dean Nieves Pepito of UNO-R delivered Fr. Dionisio Cachero’s message. The MOA signing followed and after that, the presentation of two prospective Magsasaka Siyentistas whose products were “kwakoy” (a rice-based native delicacy), and organic fertilizers.

Then, the guests trooped to the unveiling of the billboard at the entrance of the Agriculture Office and the ribbon-cutting signaled the formal opening of the FITS Center. Some students tried first-hand the online facility of the Center ; they too are welcome to avail of the Center’s resources.

Incidentally, UNO-R took advantage of the gathering by setting up a free medical clinic for the attendees as a portent of greater things to come resulting from the partnership.

Snacks were served for everyone, which, of course included the famous, delicious and sweet-tasting kwakoy.

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