City’s Farmers To Learn Anti-Poverty Schemes in WMSU Symposium
November 18, 2006

Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) President Dr. Eldigario Gonzales will meet with some 250 farmer-leaders of the city on November 27-28 to discuss with them current anti- poverty and agricultural initiatives and opportunities.

The WMSU president will conduct the dialogue chiefly in his capacity as chairman of the Western Mindanao Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Development Consortium (WESMARRDEC), which will be celebrating its anniversary. WESMARRDEC is an aggrupation of 15 government agencies and state universities and colleges the facilities and disseminates research in agriculture, forestry and natural resources through various means and strategies. It has seven working groups led by the Regional Research and Development Coordinating Committee (RRDCC), which is chaired by Dr. Gonzales. The RRDCC is the policy-making body of the consortium. Its secretariat is based in WMSU, which is a member.

Dr. Gonzales said aside from the symposium, the event includes an agricultural exposition in which WESMARRDEC agencies will put on display their agri-related services, while farming organizations will exhibit and sell their locally-produced products. The symposium will be held at the WMSU Gymnasium and the exposition at the university carpark.

Top-ranking officials of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PICARRD), under which WESMARRDEC operates, will act as some of the resource persons of the symposium, Dr. Gonzales revealed. Among them is PCARRD director Bessie Burgos.

The talks will include discussions on San Miguel Corporation’s cassava planting enterprise, jatropha as biodiesel booster, raising of native chicken, and community assistance program of WMSU.

Dr. Gonzales emphasized that agricultural researches have been instrumental in continuously raising the farming sector’s productivity in recent years. This higher productivity has in turn fueled the Philippine’s streak of year to year increase of the Gross National Product (GNP) performance and, therefore, the national economy in general. A higher GNP is a major factor as well as indicator of poverty reduction, he said.

Under Dr. Gonzales’ chairmanship, WESMARRDEC placed second in last year’s annual performance evaluation by PCARRD of the research bodies, which every administrative region of the country has one. PCARRD Executive Director Patricio Faylon in a letter informing Dr. Gonzales of the evaluation results said: “We wish to congratulate the WESMARRDEC leadership and member-agencies for this remarkable accomplishment. WESMARRDEC in 2005 has performed exceedingly well in all major criteria, particulary in technology management / R&D utilization, capability building and governance, and R and D management.” (Rey-Luis Banagudos / PAO-WMSU)