JICA, PhilRice-Midsayap, Cotabato hold 12th Implementers’ Meeting

Midsayap, North Cotabato - The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)-Midsayap Experimental Station held one day meeting on Thursday, April 14, at PhilRice-Midsayap Conference Hall, Midsayap, NorthCotabato.

The program is under the JICA Technical Cooperation Project (TCP5) called “Rice-Based Farming Technology Extension Project for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)”. This project started in 2012 that is aimed at enhancing the government’s capacity in delivering agricultural extension services to improve rice-based farming technology in target areas by training105 agricultural extension workers, holding on-site training, among others. 

The ultimate goal of the project is to increase food sufficiency and household income, thereby contributing to the improvement of livelihood and building peace in the region. The said project will be implemented until March 2017. 

The meeting focused on strategies of each province In the implementation of activities for the last year of its operations (2016-2017).

Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, Project Director of PhilRice-Midsayap said, “We really want to know your strategy in this phase. If we do monitoring work, we know what we want to monitor specially on our implementation.”

“This is the last year of TCP5 and we want to perfect our implementation,” he added. However, a project implementation strategy may vary in different areas; “Tawi-Tawi is different from Maguindanao setting and we have to think other approaches,” Abdula pointed out.  

“This project is part of our social responsibility. It doesn’t mean that JICA’s support will end and everything will be gone, no, that is not our objective,” said Abdula.

He also stressed that if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed [in the 17th Congress], it will boost economic prosperity in Mindanao. 

“I hope the BBL will materialize because that will benefit us here [in Mindanao],” Abdula said.

The TCP5 M&E Officer of PhilRice-Midsayap, Mr. Jesrel O. Edraira presented their plans in doing monitoring activity. 

“We are using modern technology for data gathering,” said Edraira. “An ‘app’ was developed for this particular monitoring and this would really help in fast and accurate results,” he said. 

The output of the monitored programmed will be processed by this technology and will be analyzed further by an analyst.  

“We hired a programmer for this monitoring tool. We will enter a data like the names of farmers, their ID numbers, and other basic information to the tablet, if encoded, we just enter a key and it will automatically send to central base and becomes easy to process,” Edraira explained.

Dr. Abdula emphasized that the very basic output of that monitoring and evaluation activity is to know if farmers were able to increase or decrease their yield and net income as basis of impact in adopting the technology.

Mr. Wifredo Collado, the Rice Crop Manager (RCM) focal person introduced the RCM approach. “The Rice Crop Manager is a decision-making tool and its purpose is to increase the rice yield and income of famers in the Philippines by providing recommendations to the farmers on what is the best thing to do in farming activities,” Collado said.  

On RCM, the farmers will be advised on proper nutrient management, right application of fertilizer and other knowledge on farming. 

The technology he said was initiated by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  An inquiry could be done using computer and smartphone that is connected to internet through this web browser

Among other agenda in the meeting were presentations and discussions of plans and strategies for year 5 implementation. For the JICA-PhilRice activities in Maguindanao province was discussed by Mr. Nashrullah Patadon. There are 28 project sites in Maguindanao covered by the program. 

Mr. Basher Macaumbang presented the proposed activities for the province of Lanao del Sur and identified 25 project sites, Ms. Sherwina Lukman for Tawi-Tawi province, Mr. Ilmie H. Ibama for Basilan province and Mr. Baltazar Jauhari for Sulu province.

Meantime, a film on successful implementation of RCM was shown in the meeting. The film is entitled “Finding Solutions to the Effects of Climate Change” depicting farmers of Barangay Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on how they coped-up with negative impact of climate change like the ‘el-niño’ or drought and how their farming activities improved when they engaged in Rice Crop Management that eventually increases their harvest.

Also in attendance were JICA Cotabato Project Office Field Coordinator Ms. Samrah Karon-Patadon, this writer who represented the Bangsamoro Transition Commission Socio-Economic Office (BTC-SEO), Tong Abas, Center Manager of ARMMIARC, and Ms. Theodora L. Briones of PhilRice Central Experimental Station who facilitated the planning session.