Techno-Gabay Program (TGP): Strengthening Partnership to Achieve Mutual Success

Techno-Gabay Program (TGP): Strengthening Partnership to Achieve Mutual Success

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 3:31pm

Doc Olan Solo

One of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development’s (PCARRD) flagship programs that aims to provide science-based information and technology services to end-users in the agriculture, forestry, and natural resources (AFNR) sectors thru TGP. Its overarching goal is to accelerate the modernization of agriculture and natural resource sectors by improving extension agents', farmers', and entrepreneurs' access to knowledge and technologies.

In a ceremony held on 2009 at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center in Makati City, PCAARRD formally handed over the TGP’s Farmers Information and Technology Service (FITS) and Magsasaka-Siyentista (MS) components to the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI). The PCAARRD funded the establishment of the National Information Technology Services (NITS) Center at the ATI National Office in 2006, which marked the beginning of the institutionalization of TGP. Then, on May 14, 2009, Executive Order (EO) 801 was signed, indicating that the TGP components had been transferred to the DA-ATI.

Since its regional institutionalization in 2012, Dr. Rolando V. Maningas, then Information Officer of DA-ATI CALABARZON, has already been on board of the TGP implementation. He was able to keep the strong relationship with Southern Tagalog Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research, Development and Extension Consortium (STAARRDEC) running in order to facilitate the coordination, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of RDE activities, as well as the promotion and dissemination of up-to-date technology on a regional scale. Furthermore, Dr. Maningas is also represented the Center then as a KM coordinator, and currently as an Executive Board Member for the consortium techno transfer.

DA-ATI CALABARZON continues to receive numerous accolades for TGP implementation. When the ATI Central Office Information Services Division (ISD) began to acknowledge the exemplary performance of each RTC's Information Services Section (ISS) in 2017, the Center was consistently recognized as the top performing center in the TGP implementation year after year.

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DA-ATI CALABARZON has currently established 67 FITS Centers in LGUs and was the first to establish FITS Centers in extension service providers, as well as 46 FITS Kiosks in LSAs and barangays, covering 47% of the 142 cities/municipalities in Region IV-A. The center developed best practices that are considered key strategies in implementing TGP, such as strong partnerships with partner agencies, partnerships with FITS Centers on training and extension, support in disseminating IEC materials and ICTs, strong social media presence of the FITS Centers, evaluation and reassessment of program implementation by LGUs, and expansion of the program to private extension partners. FITS Centers also contribute feature stories for the ATI IV-A Newsletter (SIKLAB), Program Innovations, and Techno Gabay Program (TGP) Summit. As a result, Dr. Maningas has been invited numerous times to share these TGP implementation strategies in various regions. Back in 2012, the TGP Summit was a joint event implemented by ATI Region IV-A and Region IV-B. In addition, the hosting of the summit is being passed on to each province in the region, to which they co-lead in conceptualization to execution.

 Despite the fact that the impact of the pandemic up until now, it did not prevent DA-ATI CALABARZON from continuing to hold the TGP Summit, but rather encouraged innovation. With the Summit’s theme, “Creating Connections and Collaborations to Build Stronger Communities”, the center led the TGP Summit 2022 in Tanay, Rizal, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Rizal through the Office of the Provincial Agriculture and the University of Rizal System last November 22-24, 2022. The program used an online platform to present the FITS Centers' achievements, and face-to-face meetings were held on the second and third day of the summit, where one of the summit's highlights was the ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DA ATI IV-A, PLGU Rizal, and URS. Additionally, SUCs technology fora such as Kaong: Tree of Hope (CVSU), Program Rabbit: Research in Agricultural Based Business Innovative Technology (LSPU), The national Engineering University R&D Initiatives on Responsive and Smarter Technologies for Sustainable and Competitive Agricultural Production (BaStateU), Philippines National Standards for Processed Poultry and Vegetable Products (URS), Movable Lemongrass Essential  Oil Extraction System (SLSU), and Transforming Philippine Agriculture Through Science Communication (UPLB) were presented during the summit.

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Furthermore, Dr. Maningas graced the recent TGP Summit 2022 via Facebook Live and expressed gratitude to the FITS Centers.  In his closing message on the third day of the program, he emphasized the importance of continuing ATI CALABARZON's collaboration and cooperation with all partners and stakeholders, including farmers, fishermen, youths, and others interested in this industry to strengthen the sector and provide high-quality agriculture throughout CALABARZON.

In the final section of the OIC-Center Director's message, he stated, "We will achieve yet another milestone in the dissemination of scientific and technological information, as well as the strengthening of our partnership. There is no test that could possibly make us stronger than the solid foundation for which we work and strive."

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To top it all off, ATI CALABAZON for TGP implementation has plans in place, with Ms. Janine Cailo of the Information Services Section serving as the program's focal person. Among these are the reassessment of TGP implementers to ensure quality of service, improvement and consolidation of the partnership with PCAARRD, conduct of ladderized trainings: Canva for beginner level, Social Media for intermediate level, and Video for Advanced Course, and the partnership with DOST regarding STARBOOKS, which is a digitalized science and technology resources in various formats that are placed in specially designed "pods" set in a user-friendly interface. As the year 2023 approaches, we can be certain that the agricultural sector will be brought closer not only to farmers, but also to youth and more stakeholders who want to work in this industry, because the center’s goal is always the same: to be able to provide timely service and appropriate information more quickly using cutting-edge communication methods to ensure that everything is always on track.

Written by: Christian Leonard M. Añonuevo