With funding support of more than PhP2-million from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and as a member of the abaca rehab coalition spearheaded by the WorldFish, the Department of Science and Technology in Region 8 (DOST-8) conducted an inception meeting for its S&T community-based farm project on abaca with its cooperating agencies: abaca farmer-representatives, LGUs of Sogod and other abaca rehab coalition members on  February 20, 2015 at the Municipal Hall of Sogod, So. Leyte.

The coalition for abaca rehabilitation members that participated in the inception meeting were the following: DOST-PCAARRD; DOST8; PhilFIDA; PhilFIDA8; IPB-UP Los Baños; NARC/DDC-Visayas State University; Southern Leyte State University; DYDC-FM; Municipal government of Sogod; Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Southern Leyte; and barangays of Maac, Mahayahay, and Javier in Sogod, So. Leyte.

The Sogod municipal administrator welcomed the participants. PCAARRD’s director for Crops Research Division, Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio, gave an opening message. Then she was followed by the introduction of participants. The PCAARRD ISP Manager for Crops Research Division, Dr. Juanito T. Batalon, presented the S&T strategic plan entitled “Weaving more opportunities from Abaca”; while Dr. Antonio G. Lalusin of IPB-UPLB explained on the high-yielding and virus-resistant abaca hybrids. He was followed by the PCAARRD director for Technology Transfer & Promotion Division, Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, who gave an overview of the STCBF abaca project. The OIC Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Fiber Institute Development Authority, Engr. Petronilo B. Jabay, presented the Abaca Production in the Philippines: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges. Then, Ms. Evelyn B. Tablante, SRS of DOST-8, talked on the project details and M&E plan, while Ms. Lucy A. Lastimosa, SRS of PCAARRD, elucidated on the technical and financial monitoring guidelines of the funding agency.

The meeting ended with an open forum wherein questions were raised on the incentives of the farmers as caretakers of the abaca nursery, whether an area under coconut is suited for an abaca nursery or not, and the adding of IEC production component in the project’s logframe. The DOST-8 Regional Director, Engr. Edgardo M. Esperancilla, gave the closing remarks.

After lunch, some of the participants were requested for the radio interview by the VSU DYDC-FM staff. It was followed by the field visit of the participants to the STBCF abaca project sites. Christina A. Gabrillo/DDC