Thursday, January 06, 2011

WESVARRDEC launches FITS La Castellana

By Moniela dela Cruz
RACC Staff

The afternoon of November 24, 2010 marked the formal launching and blessing of the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center in the town of La Castellana, Negros Occidental. It is the 49th FITS Center of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) under the umbrella of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD). The ceremony, which was held in the bagsakan center took off with a prayer led by Pastor Samuel Jadloc.

Municipal Mayor Alberto A. Nicor, Jr., a proud farmer’s son and a farmer himself expressed his commitment by saying, “wala ko ginapabayaan ini nga programa (FITS Center) kay bal-an ko nga makabulig sa mangunguma” [I did not neglect this program (FITS Center) because I know it can help our farmers].

Indeed, the municipality holds a solid partnership with the La Castellana I Multi-purpose Cooperative (LC I PMPC), a teacher’s co-op which have assisted farmers and boasts of winning the national award for the Most Outstanding Cooperative for three consecutive years. Through the partnership, Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) were able to set up piggeries and productive farms enabling them to pay their taxes and their loans with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). The officials of the cooperative even gave their messages of support for they know that the FITS Center supplements their efforts and the LGU’s programs by its interconnectivity service through which stakeholders can access new information and technologies.

Techno-Gabay Team Leader Dr. Cafino of the Partner Member Agency (PMA) which is University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) presented to the mayor the concept of his project “Bayan-Anihan” for students and their families who can plant 3-5 kinds of "complementary" vegetables, like those used as ingredients for “sinigang” in a 1x10 meter plot. While Cafino was explaining the need for areas to pilot the project, several barangay officials expressed their eagerness to avail themselves of the said project.

The Techno-Gabay Program and the pertinent provisions of the memorandum of agreement between all stakeholders was discussed by Dr. Hector Penaranda of WESVARRDEC just before the MOA signing.

The first part of the program closed with a message from Municipal Agriculturist Rene M. Trenuela, after which blessing of the FITS Center and unveiling of the Center’s billboard followed. Proudly displayed in the Center were the farmers’ products such as “taho powder” which is their prospective focus commodity, pomelo, quail eggs, and assorted vegetables.

The event was attended by farmers, barangay officials, ditrict supervisors, municipal employees and community members. Also present were the officials of UNO-R, together with their medical doctor, medical technologist, and 20 Medical Laboratory Science students who held a free Clinic for the attendees of the event as well as the residents of the neighboring barangays. They provided consultation, blood-typing, blood sugar level tests and blood pressure check-ups during the entire duration of the program. This is proof of UNO-R’s commitment to be of service, in more ways than one, to its immediate community.

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