DA, NOAB, BSU host 1st SUCs Organic Aggie consultation, gear toward collaboration
Dr. Danilo Daguio, Assistant Regional Director of DA-CAR, delivers the message of DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to the participants of the 1st SUCs Consultation: The Role of SUCs in the Implementation of the R.A. 10068 and National Organic Agriculture Program. Seated are (l-r) BSU VP for Research and Extension, Dr. Luciana M. Villanueva; Mr. Peter J. Guibac, Chief of Staff, Benguet Congressional District Office; BSU President, Dr. Ben D. Ladilad; CHED-CAR Regional Director, Dr. Luisa S. Valencia; and NOAB Secretary, Atty. Dahlia Salamat during the consultation opening program on November 14, 2013 at the Hotel Supreme, Baguio City.//Documentation Committee
Bearing the theme, “SUCs Collaboration for Effective Leadership in Organic Agriculture Industry Development,” the Department of Agriculture (DA), the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), and the Benguet State University (BSU) hosted the 1st SUCs Consultation: The Role of SUCs in the Implementation of the R.A. 10068 and National Organic Agriculture Program at the Diamond Hall, Supreme Hotel, Baguio City on November 14-15, 2013.
With around 135 participants nationwide, the two-day event kicked off with the ribbon cutting and opening of exhibits led by the Director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-CAR Luisa S. Valencia, BSU President Ben D. Ladilad, Former CHED Commissioner William Medrano, BSU-Vice President for Research and Extension Luciana M. Villanueva, and Chief of Staff of the Benguet Congressional District Office Peter J. Guibac representing Cong. Ronald M. Cosalan.
Meanwhile, exhibits included the display of the different organic products from the National Organic Agriculture Research and Development (NOARD), Benguet Organic Producers Association (BEOA), La Trinidad Organic Practitioners Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LaTOP), Organically-Grown Unoy Blend, and a variety of products from the DA-CAR Heirloom Rice of Mountain Province and Ifugao.
Rafael B. Tallocoy, Secretary to the Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, stressed that lessons learned from this program should be used in practical but meaningful ways. He further stated that the result of what a person does will measure his/her talents and skills. Further, Mr Tallocoy said SUCs consultation aims at building a roadmap towards poverty alleviation and food security as well as at institutionalizing the integration of OA concerns in the curricula and other operational activities of CHED, Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and other educational institutions consistent with the provisions of Section 23 Rule 23.3 of the Republic Act (RA) 10068 and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
In terms of reference, the consultation posed significant role of the state universities and colleges in the nationwide development of agricultural expertise and education not only of the students enrolled in the course of organic but also of farmers through extension services.
With this role in education, SUCs are enjoined in the Organic Agriculture program through their power of offering degree programs related to agriculture and in conducting RDE activities and programs in OA.
“SUCs are coping with the changes in Agricultural Sciences along their mandate on instruction, research, extension, and production,” articulated Ladilad, who also informed the audience that Benguet State University leads the government academic community in advocating organic agriculture as a farming system in the whole country.
Further, “there is a need to set the role of SUCs in the implementation of the RA 10068 and the NOAP to determine how they can contribute in the advocacy, development, and promotion of OA in the country.”
On the other hand, Dr. Danilo Daguio, DA-CAR Regional Assistant Director in representing Secretary Proceso J. Alcala during the program lauded efforts in pushing for OA and conveyed support to ventures which primarily aim at producing sufficient and safe food supply. “Organic Agriculture program in our country is gaining ground. Through this program, we hope to increase the income of our small farmers by eliminating the high costs of chemical inputs,” he said emphasizing the significance of OA in mitigating hunger, malnutrition, and diseases caused by unsafe foods. Meanwhile, Congressman Roman T. Romulo of Pasig City pointed out in his message as read by President Ladilad the significance of using OA to properly utilize the richness and abundances of the land. “Tilling the soil without good techniques will render the soil futile,” he added further.
Dr. Valencia also expressed that CHED will always support efforts of the SUCs towards OA and further encouraged participants who are members of the academe to leave a legacy through OA. She envisioned that the created roadmap of SUCs OA programs will be an offshoot for a more empowered “SUCs version 101.”
The consultation further dwelt on discussing opportunities for the National Organic Agriculture Program to find its way and get integrated in the core functions of the academic institutions.//Faith Belingon and Catherine Cimatu