Monday, October 24, 2011

Leon FITS Center hosts WVSU TG cross-visitors

By Van Kristine Mendoza


Regional Applied Communications Group

West Visayas State University

The Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in Leon, Iloilo recently hosted some 25 representatives of the Techno Gabay (TG) Team from the West Visayas State University (WVSU) at the Leon FITS Center Hall in Poblacion, Leon, Iloilo. The visiting team consisted of managers and staff of WVSU’s member FITS Centers, their Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) and representatives from the WVSU, their partner member agency.

“We may be a new FITS Center but we are working hard to build our image,” Municipal Agriculturist Magdalena Capilastique said in her speech.

For his part, Leon Mayor Rolito Cajilig said that the changing climate and the environmental crises pose threats to the farmers, the town’s major sector. According to Cajilig, Leon is an agricultural highland. Only ten percent of its 14,000 hectares is flat. Farming is Leon’s primary livelihood. Of the 85 barangays, 68 are prone to floods, landslide and calamities. “We have no choice but fight poverty,” Cajilig said. Because the town draws income from farming, Mayor Rolito Cajilig supports efforts related to it.

The local government of Leon has also been promoting Bucari, a forested area 24 kilometers from the poblacion which can serve as an eco- or agri-tourism site. Leon has also been marketing organic vegetables and its “super mangoes.” According Leon FITS Center Manager Feljean Cagape, their produce are called super mangoes because they are much sweeter than any mangoes in Panay.

Leon mangoes are found to have higher fructose content than the Guimaras mangoes. Their sweet taste is attributed to the town’s soil condition and topography. Cagape said that Leon’s soil salinity is much lower than that of Guimaras.

As part of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program of Leon, mangoes are promoted by local government in their own community. Couples asking to be married by the mayor are asked to bring a mango seedling to the ceremony. All coupled wed by the local government are required to plant the mangoes and cultivate them in their households.

At the end of the welcome program, the cross-visitors were hosted to a vegetable greenhouse located in the municipality.

A DAY IN THE FARM (see above photo). The WVSU Techno Gabay team visits a vegetable farm in their first Cross-Visit to the Leon FITS Center in Leon, Iloilo. As part of the WESVARRDEC culture, study tours such as this serve not only as avenues for information and knowledge sharing but also monitoring mechanism for the consortium.

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