RAFEN: Working Together for A Better AFE

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Working towards a harmonized and unified agriculture and fisheries extension system in the region, the Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center MiMaRoPa spearheaded the organizational meeting of the Regional Agriculture and Fishery Extension Network (RAFEN) – MiMaRoPa.

Different sectors from Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies and bureaus, State Universities and Colleges, non-DA agencies, Local Government Units and private sectors gathered together to organize a RAFEN and strengthen the extension delivery system in the region.

“ATI as lead agency in extension services among our stakeholders, we are embarking for partnerships and collaborations with other agencies,” Pat Andrew Barrientos, ATI MiMaRoPa Center Director said during his welcome remarks. “[Hence] you are here to become our partners to plan and work together to realize the present thrust of the administration – the food security and affordability for all Filipinos,” Barrientos added.

Moreover, Ronnie Panoy, Regional Technical Director of DA-Regional Field Office in MiMaRoPa was also present to support the program. “We welcome this undertaking as significant as it aligns with the directions and thrusts of the DA,” he said.

In his message, Dr. Jesse Zamora, President of Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology urged the participants to have sacrifices to bring about change in extension.

After the opening program, Center Director Barrientos presented the status of ATI Extension Programs in the region and updates on the national AFE. He described the ATI’s role and contribution in the development of MiMaRoPa and how it intends to serve more as the lead agency for AFE.

Highlight of the activity was the discussion of Dr. Evelyn Aro-Esquejo, former Deputy Director of ATI about the RAFEN. She emphasized the need to work together having one system, one program scheme.

“Let’s come together and be heard with one voice!” she challengingly asked the participants. “If we can come up with a strong RAFEN, I am certain that they will add funds for AFE, thus, we can deliver more to our clients,” she added.

In addition, to better understand and appreciate what RAFEN is all about, the participants were grouped according to their agencies and sectors and did workshops. Workshops included the inventory of resources that can be shared among partners, identifying their training needs and potentials for collaborations.

Also, there was an open forum that tackled issues and concerns regarding the delivery of extension services in the region.

At the end of the activity, participants expressed their appreciation regarding RAFEN. They are also looking forward for collaborations and linkages among partners for a unified and efficient AFE system.

Organizational meeting of the RAFEN was held on August 9 - 10, 2017 at ATI CAFE Hall, Barcenaga, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro