4th RAFEN 1 Symposium marks a milestone for the Network

The participants of the 4th RAFEN 1 symposium

Batac City, Ilocos Norte - Despite the tormenting rain and flood, 250 delegates were able to join the 4th RAFEN 1 symposium on August 2-3, 2017 at the Mariano Marcos State University, City of Batac, Ilocos Norte. These include AFE stakeholders from the RAFEN member agencies, Provincial and Local Government Units of the Region and the 1 SIKAT - an association of farmer-cooperators of ATI Learning Sites, Schools for Practical Agriculture, Farm Tourism Sites, and Extension Service Providers.

With the theme, “RAFEN UNO: Nurturing Future Agripreneurs”, the symposium aimed to encourage local farmers to become the new breed of farmers called “agripreneurs”. This is in line to the Kapatid Agri Mentoring Program (KAMP) which was launched after the symposium. KAMP is a collaborative effort of the Philippine Center of Entrepreneurship (PCE) Go Negosyo, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and the Agricultural Training Institute.

The two-day symposium showcased a community of dynamic, competitive and sustainable agripreneurs through exhibits of innovations and best practices in the Region. Part of the program among others were: 1) sharing of best extension practices in paper/oral and poster presentations; 2) product exhibits of RAFEN member agencies and the 1 SIKAT; 3) launching of Directory Guide of ATI Learning Sites, Schools for Practical Agriculture, Farm Tourism Sites, and Extension Service Providers; 4) awarding of Certificate of Membership to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the newest member to the network; and the 5) launching of the Kapatid Agri-Mentoring Program.

Keynote Speaker of the symposium, Hon. Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, on her message delivered by Dr. Nathaniel Alibuyog, VP for Research and Extension of MMSU, cited that the creation of RAFEN I contributed to the enhancement of the extension services provided by the line agencies of the Department of Agriculture. It was said that the lives of farmers and fisherfolk are likely to improve through a unified extension services. “As I often say, ang lack of technical expertise and mechanization ang dalawa sa major barriers na nakakasagabal sa pag-unlad at paglaki ng kita ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda, na hanggang ngayon kabilang sa mga pinakamahirap na sektor sa ating bansa. Isa sa mga paraan para matulungan natin sila ay sa pamamagitan ng education and training” as read on her message.

Meanwhile, Dr. Luz A. Taposok, Director of ATI, in her speech thru Dr. Rogelio Evangelista, Center Director of ATI-RTC I, expressed her appreciation to the success of RAFEN I. She mentioned that among the innovations she is proud of, is the convergence initiative program called, Timpuyog Idiay Away, Dur-As Inna Iburay or Damayan sa Barangay, Ginhawa Ibibigay”. This is an extension modality or approach of RAFEN 1 in the complementation and harmonization of resources for a greater impact of the AFE services in the community” proudly stated.

On the other hand, LGU- Dasol, Pangasinan is a back to back 1st prize winner for the Paper/Oral Presentation of Best Extension Practices, followed by LGU- Solsona and Laoag City, Ilocos Norte being 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

For the poster presentation, LGU Category, 1st prize was achieved by Urdaneta City, Pangasinan; 2nd, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; and 3rd, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan. DSWD won the 1st prize for RAFEN Agencies Category, while ISPSC and MMSU correspondingly got the 2nd and 3rd prize.

The success of the symposium was contributed by the teamwork of the RAFEN 1 Agencies through ATI-RTC I as the lead and MMSU as the host agencies.