DA-BAR, DA-Ilocos strengthen rainfed agri-fisheries RDE program in the region

To empower farmers and fisherfolk in Ilocos Norte and build resilience of rainfed agriculture and fishing communities—a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Rainfed Agri-Fishery Research for Development and Extension Program was virtually signed on 27 June 2022 among the DA, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN). 

Spearheading the virtual MOU signing were DA-BAR director Dr. Junel B. Soriano, MMSU president Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, and Atty. Juan Alfonso Augustus I. Jose, representing Ilocos Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc. 

The rainfed R4DE program titled, Strengthening the Agri-Fishery Industry in Rainfed Ecosystem for Sustainable and Inclusive Development, covers attaining and sustaining high productivity; developing smarter production systems; mainstreaming natural resource management; developing biomass technologies; and strengthening the agriculture and fisheries extension system. 

Dr. Soriano, representing Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar, emphasized the need to prioritize the rainfed ecosystem, citing India as a good model in the world where impacts of rainfed program can be seen in the community. 

The program is aligned to the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fishery Extension System programs and projects and supported by the PGIN through its Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. 

Acknowledging the involvement of various agencies, President Agrupis also shared the region’s efforts to uplift the economic status of the Ilocanos. Further, she hopes that this serves as a model to all rainfed agriculture and fisheries in the country. 

In response, Atty. Pancho shared PGIN’s commitment through allocation of local budget and seeking support from national government agencies. 

DA-BAR assistant director Joell Lales ended, "We need to extend to more partners and we have to look forward [to] the impact by which we will be measured once the program is running on his own...I think it’s a complete package of intervention bukod sa nandyan lahat ng institutional partners and we are going to harness the best-bet technologies and innovation, so that we will be able to realize transformation." (### Maria Ruby G. Lumongsod and Geline Nicole A. Morillo)