The Rationale, Mandate, and Implications on Development of the Regional R&D Consortium
By Geronimo L. Gregorio, Ph.D., Coordinator, Regional Research & Development Group (RRDG)
Working on the premise that in unity there is strength and that individualism breeds unwholesome competitions and wastage of resources, various GOs and NGOs involved in R&D programs and activities in the region have joined hands to work for a common goal.
As an answer to the long-observed inefficiency in R&D work, the above agencies and institutions more or less come to a covenant grounded on the belief that working together is the demand of the time.
Through the efforts and leadership of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (Pcarrd), the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) was born in Region VI a few years ago. Similar consortia in the rest of the regions of the country were also put into existence with a multi-pronged objective geared mainly to upgrade, reorient and accelerate regional R&D undertakings. Now these consortia are getting stable and seemed to find themselves really essential as conduits of regional development.
In the light of the sluggishly growing economy, low farm incomes and productivity which manifest poverty in the rural and urban areas, R&D activities must find their way to address these complex problems. New technologies and innovations must be generated and more effective strategies of technology transfer must be evolved to make breakthroughs in agricultural production and improve the life of poverty-stricken households. Unfortunately, however, R&D agencies and institutions working individually did not make much to hit these targets. They seemed to have ended up with a status quo for years.
The formation of the regional R&D consortia then was thought by its framers and advocates as a solution to fragmented and random development efforts. By mandate, these consortia seek to unify efforts and pool resources—technical, financial, technological and material—to secure greater efficiency and productivity in agriculture and industries. Thus, their activities can effectively be identified, prioritized, planned, implemented, monitored, evaluated and coordinated. Under the present setup, member agencies can more efficiently collaborate and cooperate with each other hereby providing an open access for resource sharing. This scheme would undoubtedly maximize the utilization of both human and material resources of these agencies. In essence, it provides ample opportunities to these agencies for maximum participation and greater achievements in R&D undertakings.
These regional R&D consortia offer bright prospects both for member agencies and the people of the region whom these agencies are working for. These agencies can increase their R&D activities and become more participative in development work which must be a part of their mandate. Likewise, the people in their respective service areas can hope for more tangible, meaningful and lasting accomplishments essential to bring about and sustain agro-industrial development and progress.
For one, WESVARRDEC is apparently commissioned to take the lead in initiating and accelerating socioeconomic activities and development in their area of concern. This means their presence must revolutionize agro-industrial productivity, rehabilitate and protect the environment and improve the socioeconomic status of the poor. All member agencies then are challenged to come up with these expectations or else the consortium to which they belong will have a meaningless existence.
Gregorio, Geronimo L. “Regional R&D Consortium: Its Rationale, Mandate, and Developmental Implications.” The PSPC Journal 6:2.