Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Coconut farmers in Tawi-Tawi are hoping for better access to coconut services and programs. This follows the successful completion of an Information Caravan on the Coconut Farmers Industry Development Program (CFIDP) by the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center XII (ATI-RTC XII) and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in BARMM on February 7, 2023 at Rosemin Gymnasium in this Municipality.
The caravan's goal is to raise awareness about the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) Act, also known as Republic Act (RA) No. 11524.
Ms Shirley Beldia, Senior Agriculturist and Chief of the Partnership and Accreditation Section (PAS), welcomed the participants during the information caravan. She stated that this is the institute's second Information Caravan, following its pilot implementation in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, in August 2023.
Moreover, Engr. Mokles P. Buisan, Training Specialist II and CFIDP Focal Person for BARMM, provided an Overview of Activity and CFIDP briefer. Engr. Buisan emphasized the importance of information caravans in informing farmers about the programs and services available through CFIDP.
Hon. Nubert Sahali, Mayor of Panglima Sugala, also attended the Information Caravan. In his message, he thanked the agencies in attendance for organizing this activity in their municipality. He stated that this activity is necessary in order to engage farmers in government programs.
Mr. Lester Jay Dela Cerna, Project Development Officer III of PCA-BARMM, provided an overview of the country's coconut industry, including its current state and trends.
In the afternoon, various implementing agencies such as the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism (MTIT), Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education-Technical Skills Development (MBHTE-TESD), Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) Region IX and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Tawi-Tawi presented their plans and programs and delivered their messages of commitment.
MTIT's representative Ms Alfaida Sabdawi provided an overview of their organization and their commitment to the CFIDP. She stated that MTIT is the first agency in BARMM to establish a Memorandum of Understanding for CFIDP and has pledged to fully support the program for coconut farmers.
Rusuma Salim of MBHTE-TESD, on the other hand, informed the participants about their agency's programs and services. During her message, she mentioned the free courses available to them, such as Bread and Pastry NC II, Cookery NC II, and others.
Also, Ms Geraldine S. Agum, PCIC-IX Insurance Underwriter II, briefed the participants on their agency's services as well as how to obtain free insurance for small holder farmers with less than one (1) hectare farm land.
The activity concluded with the presentation of certificates of appreciation to partner agencies and participation certificates to coconut farmers. Engr. Buisan and PCA-Tawi-Tawi Division Chief I Ms. Nur-Aina B. Ingkanan awarded the certificates.
Coconut farmers also raised their issues and concerns to the implementing agencies during the open forum. (JLA/ISS)