LUCENA, Quezon — To develop the coconut industry in this province, the Provincial Government of Quezon is tying up with the Los Baños-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, an expansion of an alliance that started in 1985.
Commending SEARCA’s aim to contribute to the country’s food and nutrition security and poverty reduction, Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez said their partnership with Searca will surely establish an inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development system in the province.
Suarez said their partnership aims to develop a project on the coconut industry growth areas in Quezon province and to help improve the socio-economic condition of the farmers, fisherfolks, and rural communities.
He said Quezon’s agricultural programs include farm mechanization, enterprise development, and marketing.
“We intend to further solidify the status of Quezon province as a top producer of agriculture and fishery commodities and become known as the food basket in the region,” Suarez said, adding that this is where the center can be of best assistance with its knowledge and expertise on extensive research.
Searca Director Glenn Gregorio said an agreement which was formally signed last month between the center and the provincial government of Quezon traces back to what was started in 1985 with a parallel objective of linking the farmers to modern networks and innovative markets.
“SEARCA is keen to help Quezon province realize its vision of a market-driven coconut industry with empowered and resilient farmers, engaging in profitable coconut-based enterprises, contributing to inclusive and sustainable agricultural development,’” Gregorio said adding that SEARCA’s priority is to extend its expertise to its neighboring communities in Region IV-A.
The center and the provincial government agreed to develop enterprises and the capabilities of Quezon farmers through agricultural innovation, particularly collaborating on product development, strengthening of market linkages and capacity building of farmer organizations, he added.
According to Pedcris Orencio, SEARCA Research and Thought Leadership program head, said these collaborative activities will be carried out using their ARD model centered on participatory development approaches and sustainability strategies.
“The ARD model helps strengthen farmer organizations while linking them with national and international organizations, academe and local government units for technical and material support,” Orencio said.
He said these standards of the ARD model are detailed in Searca’s “SEED: Scaling and Expanding for Effective Development” guidebook which captures the lessons and results of piloting effective models of inclusive and sustainable ARD
“The center can complement the project through interventions that will lead to agricultural systems transformation and increase the level of agricultural investments,” Orencio said, adding that academe-industry-government interconnectivity is important in the project design.
The Quezon provincial government and the center will conduct a scoping of the coconut industry growth areas in the province together with the stakeholders to establish their project’s baseline.