Cagayan de Oro, N. Mindanao – Only the best got to experience the foggy roads, mountain ranges, and bursts of yellow amidst the greenery of vast pineapple, sugarcane, and corn fields of Northern Mindanao. The finalists and winners of the Best FITS Center and Best Magsasaka Siyentista contests during the Techno Gabay Program Summit in 2018 joined in the Knowledge, Inputs, and Technology Sharing (KITS) for FITS Implementers.
ATI RTC 8 brought the team to selected FITS Centers and learning sites in Region 10: Jaya Secret Garden in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Binahon Agroforesty Farm in Lantapan, Bukidnon; Alomah’s Place in Dahilayan, Bukidnon; Cervantes Farm in Cagayan de Oro; Lantapan FITS Center; and Malaybalay FITS Center. The first pit stop, however, was the office of ATI RTC 10. Led by Ms. Maria Lydia Echavez (OIC-Center Director), the team was warmly welcomed by the Center’s staff with cool buko drinks and copies of BAHANDI (a compilation of success stories of farmers in Region 10).
While visiting the abovementioned sites, the team learned from their N. Mindanao counterparts about technologies which they can adopt in their own farms. FITS center staff were also oriented about efficient data management being implemented in the Malaybalay FITS Center.
Aside from the technologies, the team reveled in the beauty of the farms they visited. They took note of how the learning sites developed their farms without destroying the natural attributes of the land. Farmers bought seeds and seedlings of herbs for propagation in their own farms as well as IECs offered by the FITS centers visited. They also tasted local delicacies like the Binaki, made of ground corn mixed with milk, sugar, and butter then steamed.
Ms. Avelina Molato, FITS Center staff of Ormoc City, was thankful to ATI for the opportunity. She was overwhelmed with the different types of herbs grown in Bukidnon noting how some of these were very difficult to propagate in Leyte. She was amazed that in Alomah’s Place some of the herbs were growing abundantly with big pots of rosemary lining pathways like ornamentals.
Mr. Hermoginis Alvarez, MS of Merida, Leyte, was excited as it was his first time to join KITS for FITS implementers. He saw the potential of his own farm while touring Alomah’s Place and Binahon Agroforestry Farm. All were also in agreement in saying that no Filipino will ever be hungry should they adopt the square foot gardening showcased in Cervantes Farm.
Five (5) FITS staff, 7 MS and 2 ATI RTC 8 staff joined the KITS for FITS Implementers on March 17-22, 2019 at Northern Mindanao. Mr. Vic Thor Palarca, MPS II of ATI RTC 10, accompanied the team during the tour.