FITS Centers in Cebu: Monitored and Assessed

Ms.Pamela Mappala of ATI-ISD interviews Municipal Agriculture Officer of Borbon, Cebu

DILIMAN, Quezon City – A total of 22 Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Centers in the province of Cebu were visited and evaluated by a team from the Information and Services Division of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-ISD) last May 20 to 23, 2014.  The activity was set to determine the current status of the FITS Centers in terms of providing extension services to their respective clientele, which will later serve as basis for the Institute in proposing future projects and budget specifications for the Techno Gabay Program (TGP).

Initial results of the activity affirms that all the FITS Centers in Cebu are operational, usually located within the Municipal Agriculturie Offices.  Based on the initial results, the centers are able to distribute information, education and communication (IEC) materials to their walk-in clients and during farmers meeting or trainings, as well as provide access to information communication technology (ICT) equipments available such as desktop computer, printer and internet connectivity.

Adding to the list is the newly established FITS Center in Asturias, Cebu which was launched on May 23, 2014 as one of the highlights of the municipality's commemoration of the Farmers'  and Fisherfolk's month this year. Supported by Asturias Mayor Alan L. Adlawan, the event was graced by Dr. Carolyn May O. Daquio, Center Director of ATI-Regional Training Center VII and Pamela G. Mappala of ATI-ISD.

The FITS Centers are one-stop service facilities that provide clients quick access to information and technology services.  These centers give out IEC materials on various agriculture and fisheries technologies and commodities.  FITS Centers, formerly known as Techno Pinoy Centers, is one of the component modalities of the Techno Gabay Program – a tool aimed to facilitate better access to science-based information and technology services to agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and natural resources stakeholders.

Under the Executive Order No. 801, dubbed as “Encouraging Local Government Units (LGUs) to Adopt the Techno Gabay in their Agricultural Extension Programs and the Concerned Government Agencies to Provide Required Assistance for the Purpose”, the Department of Agriculture (DA) designated ATI to take the lead in linking DA’s extension program to the extension delivery modalities of the TGP as well as extension programs of SUCs, LGUs and other agencies; provide access to online databases of DA on e-Learning courses and other agricultural information; and complement manpower and logistic support in the conduct of trainings and education of LGU personnel that will be involved in the joint undertaking.

All the results of the rapid monitoring and assessment of more than 700 FITS Centers in the Philippines will be consolidated, reviewed and presented to the TGP’s various implementing offices as reference in action planning and addressing important concerns on agricultural extension.