The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) organized a training for the baseline assessment of the coconut industry in Quezon in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) on 5-6 July 2022 at the SEARCA Residence Hotel. The two-day program was participated in by student-interns from UPLB’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (DAAE), as well as representatives from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) of Quezon and the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMA) of Catanauan. The training aimed for the participants to be familiarized with the survey tool and to provide them with the technical knowledge and skills useful for the actual survey. The activity was spearheaded by Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, SEARCA’s Program Head for Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD), and Ms. Blanquita Pantoja, Technical Coordinator and University Researcher from UPLB. They were assisted by Ms. Anna Gale C. Vallez and Ms. Pauline D. Gozales, Program Specialist and Project Associate of SEARCA’s RTLD.
Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA’s Deputy Director for Administration, welcomed everyone on behalf of Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, during the opening program. Prof. Florendo stated in his speech that SEARCA, with the firm belief that knowledge development should be a diffused process, conducts capacity building to strengthen value chains and agribusiness commodity systems, which will lead to inclusive growth and development of smallholder farms. He recognized the importance of innovative agri-business models that can increase farmer productivity and income, which is one of SEARCA’s priorities in its 11th Five-Year Plan.
The training kicked off with the presentation of the project overview by Dr. Orencio and the discussion of the survey form to be used by Ms. Pantoja. As part of the training, the participants were allowed to conduct an actual interview of the coconut farmers in San Pablo City, Laguna, in coordination with the City Agriculture Office (CAO) on 6 July 2022. Eleven members of the Samahang Magniniyog ng San Pablo joined the activity.
In general, this activity served as a platform to learn and acquire knowledge and skills for the baseline assessment. Student interns and the selected representatives of the OPA-Quezon and OMA-Catanauan will be deployed on 20-26 July 2022. Around 80 coconut farmers and/or processors in Brgy. San Antonio Pala in Catanauan, Quezon are expected to participate in this activity.
The activities are part of scaling of the processes described in the Guidebook, SEED: Scaling and Expanding for Effective Development Experiences and Learning which resulted from SEARCA’s approach for commodity-specific intervention, which will now be applied in the development of a project for the coconut industry growth areas in the Province of Quezon, starting with the Municipality of Catanauan, Quezon.