Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Miag-ao FITS Center opens to clients

By Moniela dela Cruz
RAC Staff

“This is the moment that we have been waiting for”, said Vice-Mayor Jose Rey Noble of the Municipality of Miag-ao, Iloilo, in his welcome address during the launching of Miagao Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center on November 22, 2010 at the Agriculture Office of the municipality.

It is the 45th FITS Center of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Forestry Resources Research and Development (PCARRD). The Vice-Mayor also said that after two years of waiting and preparing, the opportunity for farmers to enter the moment of scientific farming has come. “Okay lang naurihi, dapat mauna na sa produkto kag benepisyo sang FITS Center” (It’s okay that it took awhile as long as they will be able to benefit from the products and other services of the Center), Noble said.

WESVARRDEC Executive Director Prof. Joseph Idemne said that the Consortium and PCARRD will play a major role in marketing Miag-ao farmers’ products through its Technomart, market-matching and inter-FITS trading programs. The Regional Management Information System (RMIS) Coordinator Prof. Nilo Araneta also mentioned that the Center can be an avenue to eventually market quality products all over the world through ICT and UPV Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jane Geduspan, who came in behalf of UPV Chancellor Minda Formacion encouraged everyone present to visit the Center and utilize its information and technology services.

FITS Manager and Municipal Agriculturist Mr. Raymundo Monroy said that Miag-ao is known for its bulb onion and eggplant produce but they have chosen bamboo as their focus commodity because of its abundance. It is also to align with the on-going projects of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) on bamboo and in which UPV has already involved the municipality of Miagao in the project and in promoting their bamboo industry.

Mayor Julieta Flores acknowledged the support of UPV in the establishment of the FITS Center and promised to provide it with the necessary equipment and budget for the maximization of its use, not just by farmers but by students, entrepreneurs and those willing to learn and access its services. She said that “knowledge is power”, and through the new learnings and capability building trainings and seminars, the farmers can develop skills which would enable them to produce much more than they have been able to and address the problem of lack of food in Miag-ao.

The unveiling of the FITS billboard and the ribbon-cutting capped the launching ceremonies and the bamboo product displays were admired by guests and locals alike. The Center was facilitated through the collaborative effort of the local executive and legislative bodies, the Municipal Agriculturist and its staff, Ms. Rose Mueda, the Techno-Gabay Team Leader of UPV (as Partner Member Agency of LGU Miag-ao FITS Center).

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