During a project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) visit in Inopacan, Leyte on 20 September 2018, Dr. Jose Medina and Ms. Patricia Ann A. Pielago, ISARD Overall Program Coordinator and Project Assistant met with Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, On-site Project Coordinator, to discuss the progress of various activities and initiatives in the Leyte pilot site. The project includes improving the production of jackfruit and banana enterprises, tilapia culture to contribute to household food security, and environmental sustainability through the rainforestation management.
Dr. Marlito M. Bande, Head of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Division of VSU's Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management (ITEEM) has identified 21 potential rainforestation adopters. Meanwhile, continuous dispersal of tilapia fingerlings is being conducted by Inopacan local government as reported by Mr. Anecito Asencion, Inopacan's Municipal Agriculture Officer (MAO). A food processing building was also recently constructed in Brgy. Linao, which will house the fried-banana chips processing facility. This is in support to the value addition and enterprise development. The farm rehabilitation support, in the form of planting materials assistance provided during the early phase of the project, is already contributing to additional and alternative sources of food and income to one of the farmer-cooperators.
In one of the interviews conducted by the project team, among the major challenges experienced by jackfruit growers in Inopacan is the difficulty in producing viable propagules through asexual propagation. Dr. Medina and Dr. Bacusmo recognized that this is crucial to sustainable and readily-available sources of high-quality planting materials and for expanding plantation areas given the market opportunities for both fresh and processed products. As part of the next steps, the project team will work on strengthening the capacity measures among growers and farmer groups to effectively utilize the proven production technologies, and post-harvest and food processing for jackfruit and banana commodity enterprises.
Mapping and profiling of rainforestation sites were also recommended, as well as the delivery of necessary support services from partner institutions and agencies. The importance of ground-level monitoring and record maintenance were likewise strictly emphasized as basis for evaluation towards the end of the project. (Patricia Ann A. Pielago)