Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar visits CPSU for MOA signing and turn over of DA-AMIA projects to farmer organizations

The University’s persistent efforts to win battle against poverty and food security in the region through various sustainable agriculture initiatives, technologies, programs and projects extended to the community merit the visit of DA Sec. William Dar at CPSU Victorias Campus, Victorias City last December 8, 2020.

The purpose of the said visit was the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DA and CPSU on “Massive Cacao, Sweet Potato and Bamboo Propagation and Distribution” worth P2 million, and another MOA on the “Bamboo Nursery Establishment Project” worth P500,000.00 . Likewise, Sec. Dar led in the ceremonial turn-over of DA Adaption and Initiatives in Agriculture or AMIA projects to five farmer organizations in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental such as the Solar-Powered Irrigation System with complete accessories worth 1.7 million, 12 units of Rain Water Harvester with complete accessories for each of the organizations, and the AMIA Training Center Project Establishment worth P1, 638, 500.

In the ceremonial turn-over of these DA-AMIA projects, Sec. Dar was joined by DA-Western Visayas Regional Director Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter who is also a member of the CPSU Board of Regents, DA Executive Assistant Noel O. Reyes, DA Assistant Secretary for the Visayas Atty. Hansel O. Didulo, Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, and the Pontevedra Senior Agriculturist/AMIA Project Leader Carmelita Fantilanan. With them were CPSU President Dr. Aladino C. Moraca, VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Fernando D. Abello, College of Agriculture and Forestry Dean Dr. Roland Marcel Bachiller, R & D Director Dr. Angelie Rose Lumba, Extension and Community Services Director Dr. Jimmy O. Degillo, CPSU Victorias Campus Administrator Sir Noel Fordente, along with other CPSU personnel, Victorias City officials and cooperative leaders of the five farmer organizations who witnessed the said event.

These AMIA projects funded by DA Systems-Wide Climate Change Office (SWCCO) in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental in partnership with CPSU as the implementer and training provider started since September 2019. The series of trainings provided to five (5) farmer organizations on Climate Resilient Agriculture Projects was spearheaded and facilitated by R & D Unit headed by its Director, Dr. Angelie Rose Lumba and the CPSU Extension and Community Services Office (ECSO) headed by Director Jimmy O. Degillo under Dr. Joel A. Perez as the VP for Research and Extension. These farmer organizations are the Association of San Isidro Farmers (ASIF), San Isidro Small Water Impounding System Association (SISWISA), KAUSWAGAN Agrarian Reform Cooperative (KARC), General Malvar Irrigators Agrarian Reform Cooperative (GGMIARC) and the General Malvar Agrarian Reform Cooperative (GMARC).

In his speech, Sec. Dar commends CPSU Victorias Campus as the first to offer Veterinary Medicine in Negros Occidental, “Asahan nyo po ang suporta ng Kagawaran ng Pagsasaka sa Veterinary Science dito sa CPSU Victorias,” he stated.

Sec. Dar also shared plans on establishing a National Center on Animal Transboundary Diseases and stated that once the Vet. Science in the Campus is in place, “we will have you as one of the network institutions as member of the center in the region,” he highlighted.

Part of his plans for the University is making it as the Agricultural Machineries Center that supports rural industrialization in the region. The idea is to create a community-based manufacturing facility or small shops locally known as “pandayan” for the repair and fabrication of agriculture implements, tools and equipment including machines for the farmers. This will be in partnership with the DA and RU Foundry in line with Sec. Dar’s goal of industry development in the countryside.

He likewise challenged CPSU to integrate these agricultural ideas and innovations as the institution performs its core functions in research, instruction, production and extension. He further urged the University to strengthen engagements on projects that create rural industries like its current program on flour industry, muscovado industry, sericulture and its future project, the cacao industry. These programs will ensure sustainable livelihood and food security to farmers, as well as the economic development in the region. These are all in line with the current advocacy of the University, the Conservation Agriculture, that aims to  preserve and improve soil fertility while increasing crop productivity.

Towards the end, Dr. Moraca expressed his gratefulness to the support extended by Sec. Dar and stated that these agricultural technologies generated by CPSU and extended to the farmers are great and promising agricultural and livelihood support to the farmers worth replicating in other areas.

“The flour production pursued by CPSU will make use of underutilized root crops like sweet potato, taro, etc.  And through this, we believe that importation (of commercial flour) will be reduced, and the creation of livelihood for the community will be ensured,” Dr. Moraca stated as farmers and households in the community will become the University’s partners in the whole process of this flour production.

This event is indeed significant to CPSU as an agricultural institution having received words of support and commendation direct from the DA secretary William Dar himself. The University will continue to dedicate future innovations and projects to help the farmers, the community, the region and the country as a whole as it makes its way as “the seed of life-changing technologies.”               by J.A. Emoy