DA underscores convergence for research and extension efforts

To strengthen and harmonize the agriculture and fisheries research and extension efforts, the DA, through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), convened more than a hundred  participants composed of officials, researchers, extension workers, and concerned staff from its staff bureaus and attached agencies, national banner programs, and regional offices for the first National Research and Extension for Development Network Meeting on 23-24 August 2023 at ATI-RDEC Hall, Diliman, Quezon City.

Highlighting the meeting was the discussion on action plans and strategies to operationalize and finetune the Agriculture and Fisheries Resources Research and Extension for Development Network (AFRREDN) guidelines. The said document aims to unify the DA-BAR’s Regional Research, Development and Extension Network and DA-ATI’s Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Network. The meeting also provided a venue to discuss national and regional research, extension, and operations issues and concerns.

DA-ATI director Remelyn A. Recoter, in her opening remarks, noted the need to “create an environment that nurtures collaborative thinking, promotes innovative solutions, and ultimately contributes to the advancement of research and extension in agriculture.”

Likewise, DA-BAR director Junel B. Soriano underscored the importance of working together and not in silos as research for development and agricultural extension are considered to be inevitably intertwined.

Providing general directions to the initiative, DA undersecretary for Policy Planning and Regulation Mercedita A. Sombilla enjoined all concerned DA offices to be engaged in R&D to extension to operations and provide constructive feedback to improve respective services, while optimizing the use of available R4DE resources.

Senior undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban, represented by assistant secretary Rex C. Estoperez, affirmed the Office of the Secretary’s support for the harmonization of networks. “The links between modern research, training, and extension services are critical to increasing production, modernizing the food chain, and raising the incomes of farmers and fisherfolk,” he added.

During the two-day activity, DA-Cagayan Valley shared their experience with regard to collaboration between research, extension, and operations. Meanwhile, Extension Support Programs, and Success Stories and Research Programs were shared by DA-ATI and DA-NFRDI, respectively. For DA-BAR, presentation topics included the five-year AFRREDN agenda and priorities and commodity priority by province, institutional support programs (scholarship program, capacity building and R&D innovations centers), regional pool of experts, regional technology forum and research symposium, monitoring and evaluation system and manual, Sustainable Challenge Award, Multi-Year Contractual Authorities (MYCA) and impact assessment initiatives, and international relation services.(### Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)