April 30, 2006

Techno Pinoy center launched in Pinili

Pinili, Ilocos Norte—In an effort to further boost technology promotion, transfer and commercialization in agriculture, a Techno Pinoy center was launched on April 18 in this municipality, which aims to disseminate more information and technology to the local community geared towards enhancing agricultural productivity.

The Techno Pinoy center, or the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS), is one of the salient features of the government’s Techno Gabay Program (TGP) that has been continuously providing information and technology services to farmers, food processors, entrepreneurs and other agriculture-based business. The TGP is included in the government’s 10-point agenda and a part of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan.

The Techno Pinoy established in Pinili is the fourth in Ilocos Norte. Other municipalities which host a Techno Pinoy Center are Bacarra, Batac and San Nicolas.

FITS is a one-stop information shop of technology in agriculture, forestry and natural resources. This service delivery system facilitates the effective and efficient provision of information and technology that provides access for the grassroots level.

Dr. William D. Dar, director-general of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Andrha Pradesh, India, served as keynote speaker during the launching.

Dar, a former Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary, is the father of the establishment of FITS center in the country, which now has a total of 182.

In an interview with the Dar, the former agriculture secretary told The Ilocos Times that he acknowledges the strong support of the local government units, universities and colleges and the various research and development institutions for sharing their resources and expertise in sustaining the project.

After it had been observed that agriculture programs had been benefited big-time commercial farmers nationwide, Dar has urged public agencies and institutions to focus on empowering the local community composed of 70 percent small farmers in the countryside. The establishment of Techno Pinoy Centers has also helped in bringing the government closer to the people.

The FITS center in this municipality, Dar said would be dedicated to small farmers. Through its state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, which include computer units, VCD player, TV, mini-component and other information and education materials, interested farmers here could request for free training and seminar from agriculture experts, direct communication and consultation with scientists through the Internet.

With her full support with this project, Pinili Mayor Anunciacion D. Pagdilao suggested that to cater to the real needs of farmers here, the technology to be offered must be global and translated into the local dialect for better understanding and to facilitate easier adoption of new technologies.

Pagdilao added that local farmers should not be content with the traditional method of farming but instead should open their minds to the new agricultural technologies to increase their production.

The project launching was in cooperation with the Ilocos Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU)-Batac, the Pinili municipal government, Department of Agrarian Reform, the Ilocos Norte provincial government, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, and the Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development in Los Baños, Laguna.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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