ATI pushes for more agri development via “From Arms to Farms”

Top photo: The ATI-RTC X team headed by OIC-Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez (seated in blue shirt with farm technician and “From Arms to Farms” coordinator Amenah S. Taratingan and Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Member of Parliament Honorable Abdullah Goldiano “Bravo” Macapaar) with Municipal Agriculturist Adelino F. Rico and MAO team did a coordination meeting yesterday June 25 at Munai, Lanao del Norte. Also, MAO Rico and OIC-Center Director Echavez paid a courtesy visit to Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel C. Arnado after the coordination meeting which transpired at Camp Bilal in Sitio Kura Kura Barangay Tamparan in Munai, Lanao del Norte.

Kauswagan, LANAO DEL NORTE---The Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center 10 (ATI-RTC 10) of the Department of Agriculture headed by OIC-Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez together with LGU-Kauswagan and LGU-Munai continues to forge partnership in providing quality training and extension services along with current Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Member of Parliament Honorable Abdullah Goldiano “Bravo” Macapaar. Mr. Macapaar aka “Commander Bravo” is also the Western Mindanao Front Commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF.

Aimed at bringing agricultural development in the countryside, the partnership intends to develop Camp Bilal to become a fully sustainable community where it can provide its own food for its own people. It will be a partnership that will mark again another success of the “From Arms to Farms” Program where rebel returnees will engage and venture into agriculture and will be carrying farm implements instead of fire arms. The target area is situated in Camp Bilal, Sitio Kura Kura, Barangay Tamparan, in the Municipality of Munai, Lanao del Norte.

As in the previous undertakings, the role of the ATI-RTC 10 is to capacitate the farmers through the conduct of training programs. Mayor Rommel C. Arnado, a pillar in the implementation of the “From Arms to Farms” Program, requested to train not only the community leaders but everyone in the community, even the children. With the present situation of the covid 19 pandemic however, the training will be conducted by batch of 25 participants, prioritizing farmer leaders first then later down to the last participant.

The local government of Kauswagan through Honorable Mayor Rommel C. Arnado and the LGU of Munai through Honorable Mayor Racma D. Andamama through their respective MAO offices will assist the farmers in the land preparation, technical capacitation and monitoring. Although Camp Bilal is part of the Municipality of Munai headed by Mayor Andamama, Commander Bravo also sought the help of Mayor Arnado, since the LGU of Kauswagan has the capacity to fully assist the farmers with its complete farming machineries such as tractors and other farm machineries, that would hasten the development process of the farm.

Priority components of the project are upland rice production, vegetable production and livestock. The commodity-based trainings will focus on Upland Rice Production using Palayamanan System and vegetable production integrated with livestock production and fish culture. It will only be on the basic needs of the people that they can produce within the community. The series of trainings will commence by July 2020.

On the other hand, it is the role of the community, through Kumander Bravo to make the people available and work on their own, and to ensure the safety of all the stakeholders of the program.

Mayor Arnado suggested that the program be patterned after the BP2 or the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program of the government, where beneficiaries will be given full support from housing, livelihood and employment as well as health needs support among others in order to uplift their living condition. Like the BP2, all trajectories will be focused on the area. With the presence of a lake within the area, the group plans to develop it later into an irrigation for lowland rice production and upland vegetable production area. With the key leaders of the implementing agencies and the leader of the beneficiary community present, commitments were forged and locked.

The coordination meeting yesterday June 25 was attended by OIC-Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez, OIC-Assistant Center Director Noemi Beth G. Macario, Admin and Finance Unit Chief Efren C. Macario, Training Specialist III Teodosia D. Jaraba, Rice Program point person Jhoylie Mae Rosales-Caumban, HVCC point person Moisa Niña Catiil-Paglinawan, Halal Chicken Production project officer Keemple Mark Darap and Media Production Specialist Vic Thor Palarca. Municipal Agriculturist Adelino F. Rico along with farm technician and “From Arms to Farms” coordinator Amenah S. Taratingan, Baby Jane S. Almogela, Avelino G. Bonotan Jr., Mergie L. Labid and Sittie Ashia T. Elias from MAO-Kauswagan rounded up the team.
Three season-long trainings to commence in July until September this year will be conducted. These are Halal Farm Poultry School (focus on Free-Range Chicken and Itik Pinas), High Value Vegetable Production and Climate Resilient Farm Business School (FBS) with emphasis on Upland Rice Production.

Camp Bilal will be developed to be an ATI-certified Halal Learning Site (LS) area with Kumander Bravo as Learning Site (LS) cooperator. (with additional reports from Maria Eloisa A. Akut, Information Officer II)