The provincial government of Catanduanes headed by Governor Joseph Cua has become the major partner of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Regional Training Center-5 in an effort to enrich farming and fishing communities and increase agricultural productivity in the province.
Last March 23, the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to realize the Tier 2 program for 2017 which aims to increase agricultural productivity towards food security and poverty alleviation through provision and high-impact extension interventions.
Indicating his full support to ATI, Gov. Cua expressed his commitment to assist the agency and immediately designated the Provincial Team, which will be led by OPAg’s Angel Valeza under the guidance of Provincial Agriculturist Roberto Ceballo.
Based on PSA 2015 population census, Catanduanes and Sorsogon were included in the low-income class provinces in the Bicol Region. The said areas were identified by ATI to be included in the 22 priority provinces in the Philippines that will be given extension services.
Under the Department of Agriculture (DA), ATI is the apex agency for agriculture and fisheries extension and, pursuant to Executive Order 116, is the overall manager of agriculture and fisheries training and extension in the country. The Institute also conducts multi-level training programs to promote and accelerate rural development.
Through the MOU, the ATI was able to conduct the Municipal Orientation and Consultation at Rakdell Hotel in Virac last April 3 to inform the municipal partners, mainly from the Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Councils (MAFC) and Municipal Agriculture Offices (MAO), on how to fully implement the Tier 2 program.
During the consultation, Provincial Administrator Lemuel Surtida expressed the provincial government’s desire to extend its massive support to the cause, mainly to help the less privileged, furthermore to enrich the agricultural sector not only in the province but in the entire Philippines.
“Agriculture is an important part of Catanduanes’ economy, which is why I believe that the activity will bring something good to our province,” Cua said.
The SP Committee Chair on Agriculture and Fisheries, PBM Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr., stressed that progress is achievable by working together, particularly in implementing agricultural programs in Catanduanes as the people endeavor’s to rise beyond poverty.
On behalf of OIC-Training Superintendent II Vivien Carable, Training Specialist III Cirlo Nuyles urged the participants to relay the favorable outcomes to their municipal leaders.
Senior Agriculturist Engr. Joey Belarmino explained that the Tier 2 is a special project funded by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to provide extension support to the municipalities. In focusing in the community, ATI will not just conduct training programs but will also provide starter kits and livelihood sources. In the launch of the program each municipality will select their priority communities or barangays that need agricultural and livelihood interventions, he said.