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Convergence project with S&T empowers community amid pandemic

Some of the commodities for sale during the monthly monitoring on Oct. 18, 2021, and the Saturday weekly monitoring on Oct. 23 at the convergence project at Bitaug, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor. (Photo from Philn Siong FB)

The convergence project at Brgy. Bitaug, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor continues to empower the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial S&T Director Engr. Mario de la Peña, together with the Siquijor State College (SSC) Project Implementing Team, continues to conudct monthly inspections for the convergence project at Bitaug, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor.

The project, which is managed by Bitaug Small Coconut Farmers Association (BISMACOFA), is a combination of the programs and services of different government agencies and offices/units in the Province of Siquijor and with the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) with SSC as the implementing institution.

Among the programs/services in the project are the coconut tree-planting project with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA); a Techno Demo Farm planted with variety of fruit trees and vegetables coupled with livestock rearing such as swine and native chicken and Per-Purok Communal Farms under the S&T Community-based Program for Inclusive Development (STC4iD) of DOST – PCAARRD; a 3-hectare farm for peanut production and a facility for vermicompost production – both under the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) project of DOST-7 through DOST Siquijor Provincial S&T Center (PSTC) that also supports vegetable gardens in the community; an egg-layer poultry farm funded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), among others. 

The latest development is the recent 11-session preparatory training for Organic Agriculture Production NC II by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Siquijor (TESDA-Siquijor).

Capacity-building trainings and technical supports were also conducted in cooperation with the local government units, Department of Agriculture Siquijor (DA-Siquijor), Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), DTI-Siquijor, the DOST – PCAARRD, DOST-7 and DOST Siquijor PSTC through the implementing team from SSC and farm supplies from and equipment/tools under the STC4iD and CEST programs of DOST.

Seeds were also granted by DA-Siquijor.

A Saturday weekly monitoring done by the SSC implementing team was also conducted on the project on Oct. 23, 2021.

Among the commodities that the farmers have already enjoyed and profited from the project are red chili, squash, eggplant, red bulb onion, okra, peanut, vermicast, eggs, pepper, bell pepper, banana, string beans, vermi-worm, seedlings, etc.

A Memorandum of Agreement for convergence of services was signed by SSC, DOST-Siquijor, DOLE-Siquijor, DTI-Siquijor, PCA-Negros Oriental and Siquijor, Barangay Local Government Unit of Bitaug (BLGU – Bitaug), among others, as a proof of commitment of the concerned parties in supporting the community's development.

This move was encouraged by the CEST project with DOST-7 that generally aims to establish a Sustainable Community-based AANR-Livelihood Enhancement  and Development (SCAANR-LED) Program interventions and promote inclusive Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) for the low income farmers/ community beneficiaries in Brgy. Bitaug, Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor, which also aligns to the main thrust of the STC4iD program of DOST-PCAARRD and thus supports it, which is to empower geographically, economically and/or socially disadvantaged (GESDA)  communities and social groups in the Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (AANR) sector. (PR/Engr. Joelline Ann Ates, SRA & IO designate/DOST Siquijor PSTC S&T Media Service)

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Rizalie Calibo

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Region 7

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