SEARCA inks MOA for ISARD Piloting Program in Oriental Mindoro

  • 10 February 2016

MOA Signing - L-R: Mayor Alfredo G. Ortega, Jr. (LGU), Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. (SEARCA), Dr. Ma. Concepcion L. Mores (MinSCAT)

VICTORIA, ORIENTAL MINDORO, Philippines – The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT), and the local government of Victoria, Oriental Mindoro sealed their commitment to help revitalize Victoria’s calamansi industry by signing memorandum of agreement (MOA) on 2 February 2016. In line with SEARCA’S Piloting and Up-scaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (ISARD) program, the project titled, “Revitalizing Calamansi Industry in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro through Strengthening Linkages among Farmers, LGU, NGAs, SUCs, CSOs, and the Private Sector” will bejointly implemented by the three partner institutions for three years. The project aims to enhance the capacity of calamansi farmers in Victoria, MinSCAT, and the municipal LGU in effective agricultural systems that demonstrate increased benefit for the poor and vulnerable groups through an integrated ground-level development intervention.

The MOA signing event was headed by Victoria Mayor Alfredo G. Ortega, Jr., MinSCAT President Jesse T. Zamora represented by Vice President for Research, Extension and Development Ma. Concepcion L. Mores, and SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. Also present were the Project Steering Committee members from the regional offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the stakeholders from the Upland Farmers Association of Victoria.

Prof. Rolando T. Bello, the Overall Coordinator of the ISARD Piloting, presented the project background emphasizing its objectives, the principles and approaches underlying the project, and the roles of the different stakeholders.

In his message, Mayor Ortega recounted the history of calamansi production in Victoria and expressed concern over lost opportunities in the past due to lack of post-harvest activities and appropriate marketing arrangements. According to Pres. Zamora, represented by Dr. Mores, MinSCAT looks forward to its involvement and contribution to the project in terms of providing technological assistance in coordination with other relevant agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). For his part, Dr. Saguiguit highlighted SEARCA’s mandate to promote Agricultural and Rural Development (ARD) in the Southeast Asian region; the focal theme of the Center’s current five year plan, which is Inclusive and Sustainable ARD (ISARD); and how the Mindoro project fits well into SEARCA’s mandate and thrusts. He underscored the value of partnerships and the Center’s growing ties with the SCUs and LGUs in furtherance of common development goals and objectives. Dr. Saguiguit ended his message by enjoining everyone’s cooperation to ensure that the project will successfully contribute to ISARD in the target communities in Mindoro.

After the opening ceremony, the project stakeholders had the opportunity to raise questions and points of clarification, which were jointly answered by Prof. Bello, Mayor Ortega, Dr. Bessie Burgos, SEARCA’s Program Head for Research and Development, and Dr. Saguiguit. The farmers present during the event also had the chance to share their personal experiences in calamansi production.

The ISARD Piloting program is being spearheaded by the SEARCA Research and Development Department. (Henry M. Custodio and Angelic M. Reglos)

Project Steering Committee Members [br] L-R front row: Mayor Alfredo G. Ortega, Jr. (LGU), Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. (SEARCA), Dr. Ma. Concepcion L. Mores (MinSCAT), Vice Mayor Luis S. Castillet, Sr. [br] L-R back row: Mr. Pat Andrew Barrientos (DA-ATI), Ms. Marissa Luna (DA-RFU), Mr. Bernardino Atienza, Jr. (NEDA-4B), Dr. Bessie M. Burgos (SEARCA), Mr. Arnel Hutalla (DTI), Dr. Levy Arago, Jr. (MinSCAT), Prof. Rolando T. Bello (SEARCA)

L-R: Dr. Bessie M. Burgos (SEARCA), Mayor Alfredo G. Ortega, Jr. (LGU), Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. (SEARCA), Dr. Ma. Concepcion L. Mores (MinSCAT), Vice Mayor Luis S. Castillet, Sr. with the Upland Farmers Association

Calamansi Project Team with LGU and MinSCAT staff.