DA Region 2 benchmarks SEARCA M&E

TUGUEGARAO CITY: A delegation from the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 2 (DA-RFO2) here conducted a benchmarking at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to refine their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes.

According to Bernadette Galoso, DA-RFO2 M&E project evaluation officer, the interest of the Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) Agriculture office in SEARCA's monitoring and evaluation system stems from a desire to replicate similar methodologies in their context.

Galoso expressed the commitment of their M&E office to tracing the impacts of their implemented and funded projects, aligning with the overall mandate of the DA.

According to the DA-RFO2 M&E office, some 41 staff members visited SEARCA on July 6 to benchmark the best practices employed by SEARCA, particularly those related to project monitoring and evaluation.

During the visit, Associate Professor Joselito Florendo, SEARCA deputy director for administration, briefed the DA-RFO2 delegation providing an overview of the center, its programs, and its range of services.

Ma. Christina Corales, a program specialist from SEARCA's Emerging Innovation for Growth Department, also detailed insights into project development, monitoring and evaluation.

Corales also discussed two critical information systems, the Project Monitoring Information System (PMIS) and the Integrated Monitoring Evaluation and Learning System, both developed in-house by the Management Information Systems Unit.

Corinta Guerta, technical advisor to SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio, also detailed the functionality of PMIS, along with the process of its development, while in terms of scholarly output, Lanie Reyes, unit head of applied knowledge resources, gave an engaging presentation on SEARCA publications, including the Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development or AJAD.

Reyes also encouraged DA-RFO2 staff to contribute to the AJAD publication while Dr. Nur Azura Adam, SEARCA's deputy director for programs, further emphasized the promotion of DA projects through such publications.

Gregorio said the DA-RFO2 delegates also showed keen interest in understanding SEARCA's projects on value chain analysis, which included studies like the carabao dairy project commissioned by the Philippine Carabao Center.

He said they were also interested in the capacity development initiatives run by SEARCA with the center's staff involved in the initiatives addressing queries by the delegates related to these projects.

The DA-RFO2 visitors were also guided to the SEARCA website for comprehensive information about various programs, grants, executive courses, and training programs with Adam who recommended to follow the SEARCA Facebook to stay updated with the latest announcements.

Gregorio said the possibility of arranging another visit by DA-RFO2 to SEARCA or inviting SEARCA staff to Tuguegarao to serve as resource persons will ensure continuous collaboration between the DA-RFO2 and SEARCA.