The project aims to develop some 20,000 hectares of upland farm surrounding the world's largest geothermal facility in Ormoc City and Kananga, Leyte.

The undertaking is VSU's biggest public-private partnership project in the past six years. Hence, Dr. Bacusmo vowed that the whole University will be behind the project and will seriously provide technical assistance to achieve a better quality of life among farmers.

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, who led the MOA signing, said that the assistance will be a complete package to ensure that poverty will be addressed in the Ormoc-Kananga Range.

The MOA signing culminates project development activities started in June 2011 at the request of DA-RFU 8 Regional Director Antonio Gerundio and coordinated by Mr. Leo Abejuela, DA-RFU 8 Adviser for Upland Ecosystems Roadmap Development, and Dr. Antonio Acedo Jr., Head of VSU's Department of Horticulture.

Dubbed as the "O-K Range Project", the initiative has five interlinked programs which will be mostly spearheaded by VSU researchers. These programs and the leaders are: 1) Commercial Horticulture Development Through Improved Production and Postharvest Management (Dr. Antonio Acedo, Jr.); 2) Integrated Livestock Production for Specialized Meat Products (Dr. Lolito Bestil); 3) Market Development and Managing Supply Chains of High Value Crops and Livestock (Dr. Antonio Abamo); 4) Environmental Monitoring and Enhancement (Dr. Justino Quimio); and 5) Technical Manpower Development to Sustain Agricultural Development in the Ormoc-Kananga Range (Engr. Emiliano Argoncillo [EDC-LGPF]).

The assistance is expected to benefit 5,600 farmers who are members of 23 farmer-associations in the Ormoc and Kananga areas under the PMPC umbrella. The project will cover the villages of Rizal, Hiluctogan, Montebello, Aguiting, Lim-ao, San Ignacio, and Tongonan in Kananga; Milagro, Buena Vista, Cabaon-an, Danao, Gaas, Liberty, Tongonan, Mahayahay, and Dolores in Ormoc City.

The integrated program is managed by a Program Management Committee composed of the heads of the five collaborating agencies and a Technical Advisory Committee composed of the program leaders and representatives from EDC, DA-RFU 8 and NABCOR. Several VSU experts from various units will provide technical backstopping.