SEARCA holds Filipino farmers' consultation and knowledge-sharing event

  • By Zara Mae Estareja
  • 4 July 2024

SEARCA holds Filipino farmers' consultation and knowledge-sharing event

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), through its Partnerships Unit (PU), conducted Farmers' Day, a consultation and knowledge sharing for farmers and farmer communities in the Philippines, on 27 June 2024.

The event showcased presentations from Philippine local government units involved in SEARCA-supported projects. Ms. Christine Pine, Provincial Agriculturist of Oriental Mindoro, highlighted the accomplishments of the Upgrading the Calamansi Value Chain towards Improving the Calamansi Industry of Oriental Mindoro project. Ms. Rhona Ornedo, staff from the Coconut Division of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Quezon Province, discussed the challenges and successes of the Development of the Coconut Industry Growth Areas in the Province of Quezon project.

Moreover, the event also provided a platform for leaders of farmer groups who benefited from the SEARCA initiatives to share their experiences and insights. Mr. Ruel Sanchez, President of the Victoria Kalamansi Farmers Federation (VKFF) in Oriental Mindoro, attested to SEARCA's role in establishing their federation. He said the consolidation of the calamansi farmers enabled them to secure support and funding from Philippine government agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry. Mr. Jonathan Sibolino, President of the San Antonio Pala Coconut Farmers Agriculture Cooperative in Catanauan, Quezon Province, shared how the coconut industry development project influenced the government's direction toward relevant interventions to benefit coconut farmers in their province.

Additionally, Ms. Darlyn Angeles, Program Specialist from SEARCA's Emerging Innovation for Growth Department, presented the Development of Pilot Digital Agriculture Platform in the Philippines project in Liliw, Laguna. In response, Ms. Shellemai Roa, Chief Sustainability Officer of Farm Konekt, a community-based farm management platform for inventory management and fair-trade production, introduced some of the company's current undertakings relevant to the project.

During the panel discussion on optimizing the role of progressive farmers in supporting the smallholders, Mr. Henry James Sison, Founder and Chief Farming Officer of Agro-Digital PH, a digital solution that gathers groups of farmers and aggregates their assets and capabilities to enable a sustainable business; Mr. Rodel Anunciado, Group Chief Executive Officer of BINHI, Inc., an agri-research start-up company focusing on micropropagation; and Mr. Ronald Magos, a hydroponics consultant, imparted technologies and practices that may be beneficial to the Oriental Mindoro and Quezon Province farmers.