DA-BAR holds scoping activity in Lanao del Norte, Sarangani

“We are here because we want to listen to you, we have to address first your immediate concerns and problems encountered. We want you to share that to us, andito kami para pakinggan kayo and let’s see where all of the agencies here will be able to connect and help. We just need to put all our minds, our manpower and resources together and we will work wonders,” said DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) assistant director Joell H. Lales to farmers who attended the scoping activity at Lanao del Norte on 11-14 September 2023.

Utilizing the Participatory Agriculture and Fisheries R4D Technology Transfer toward Entrepreneurship and Sustainability or PARTNERS approach, the scoping activity started with a brief meeting with  Lanao del Norte provincial agriculturist Leticia G. Ditucalan and DA Northern Mindanao Research Division on the goals of the activity and the approach. It was followed by a discussion meeting with farmers at Tagoloan, Lanao Del Norte, where farmers were urged to share their issues and challenges towards determining the most appropriate intervention and agency that could address the concerns.

“We will do a matching type, kung alin ang pwede sa LGU [local government unit], alin sa RFO [DA-Regional Field Office] at sa BAR and at the end of the day we will do an action plan which will be the basis of the proposal na ang regional office natin sa DA will be the one to do it for you in consultation with the LGU, the provincial municipal agricultural offices, at pagtutulung tulungan po iyan” said Lales as regards the role of DA-RFOs and LGUs in the crafting of the proposals.

Farmers and fisherfolk organized groups from Poona Piagapo and Tagoloan–Kalimudan Farmers Association, Darimbang Tagoloan Farmers Agricultural Cooperative, Mapantaw Green Farmers Association, Magkaisa Farmers Association, and the Rice and Hope Farmers Association, shared their insights during the action planning workshop where the respective municipal mayors also joined.

Part of the DA-BAR team are Program Development Division (PDD) acting assistant head Kris Thea Marie B. Hernandez, PDD technical staff Maylen V. Cunanan and Candice M. Guilaran, and Planning and Monitoring Unit technical staff Apple E. Llarena.

“We have to always go back to the roots of agriculture. Kayo naman po ang nagtatrabaho kayo ang nagpapakahirap at nagsasakripisyo to produce food for everyone so we have to build bridges; that is why we are here, we are building bridges between the national and the local and we are doing this in the spirit of convergence as we want to have a good pooling of resources, para mas maraming mararating” Lales explained.

Lales also shared that he noticed the huge tracts of land in Lanao del Norte that remains to be developed and the good thing is that there is already a masterplan by the provincial government to develop that specific area as an agro-industrial hub which would benefit everyone in the province.

Pag naging agro industrial hub, lahat ng produkto ninyo maaring dun nyo na dalhin, dun na ipa process and sila na ang bibili so you will not have problems anymore in marketing and value addition because that hub will take care of everything” Lales said as he explains the huge benefit of the planned agro industrial hub by the PLGU to the local farmers of Lanao del Norte.

Lales hoped that they could finalize the proposals before the year ends as he mentioned that DA-BAR already earmarked enough budget for the series of scoping missions. 

“You have a very strategic position because you are very near to Iligan and mataas din ang demand dito ng feed industry and may mga potentials dito na nakikita ang ating provincial agriculturist sa iba’t ibang mga commodities so let us help each other, let us help bring out the best in the municipality and eventually elevate to greater heights the whole province of Lanao del Norte” Lales said in ending his message to the farmers.

Another scoping activity was conducted in Sarangani on 30 August to 1 September 2023 by DA-BAR technical staff Alvin Fontanil, Chiqui Padullon, and John Arvin Dela Cruz. Five farmers cooperatives and associations (FCA) from the municipalities of Maasim and Kiamba, Sarangani participated in a workshop, where farmers from Kafway Farmers Association, Agri Farmers Association, Proper Amsipit Farmers Association, Purok 4 Farmers Association, and Tulad Farmers Association presented their existing activities and challenges. 

 In turn, Agricultural Technician Alvin Ray Ulanday, representing Maasim, Sarangani mayor Zyrex Pacquiao conveyed his message of support for the activity. Alfres Guiamal from the Operations Division of  DA-SOCCSKSARGEN presented the field office’s on-going and line-up of initiatives and interventions in South Cotabato and Sarangani Province while municipal agriculturists Jean C. Allera of Maasim and Ulanday of Kiamba presented the agri-fishery sector situationer as well as the on-going and line-up of programs, projects, and activities for 2023-2024.

 The FCA identified the problem areas/issues and concerns in their localities with corresponding possible interventions and responsible agency with the guidance of the team from DA-BAR, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority, DA-SOCCSKSARGEN, and provincial and municipal LGUs.

 In using the PARTNERS approach, the DA-BAR is targeting a more grounded technology scaling and transfer initiatives in its series of scoping missions by proactively engaging the farmers and fisherfolk and strengthening collaboration among stakeholders in achieving an inclusive development through pooling of their resources. It is implemented through a series of project scoping in communities identified with low agricultural productivity and high poverty incidence. (### Maria Ruby G. Lumongsod)