SciCAT Project culminates with a showcase of farm sites’ accomplishments, launches farm planning guidebook
BAGUIO CITY —The curtains were officially lowered after almost four years of implementing the Science for the Convergence of Agriculture and Tourism or known as the SciCAT Project. The hybrid event took place last June 2, 2022, at El Cielito Hotel, Baguio City, Benguet. It was attended by selected delegates from the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division of DOST-PCAARRD, University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries – Business Enterprise Development Division, eight (8) Component A sites, six (6) Component B sites, Research and Development Institutes (RDIs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and other government agencies.
Since 2018, the SciCAT project has been able to improve the farmers’ skills in navigating the field of agritourism and in improving the market viability of the farm using a multidisciplinary approach. Moreover, the said project is the pioneer in the country to offer the most comprehensive support programs for startups in the field of agritourism entrepreneurship, hence maximizing the agricultural and tourism potentials of the country. The four-year inter-stakeholder project was made possible through the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and in partnership with the University of the Philippines-Institute for Small-Scale Industries.
Director Noel A. Catibog of the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD) of DOST-PCAARRD, in his opening remarks, articulated his highest admiration for all of the stakeholders and collaborators across the country involved in the project. During his message, he said that while it is important to reminisce the gains and wins of the project it is also necessary that the farm sites highlight what could have been done differently and what could have been improved moving forward.
“Ultimately, the purpose of the project is to ensure the flourishing of innovation and expansive dissemination and adoption of the package of technologies. We hope that this would increase the productivity and profitability of the SciCAT farms which can be a strategy in eradicating poverty and opening up new opportunities for these communities to do business,” Director Catibog said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Lucy A. Lastimosa, the Supervising Science Research Specialist of the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD) of DOST-PCAARRD, facilitated an invigorating introduction of all the participants attending onsite and online.
Mr. Reynold Ferdinand G. Manegdeg, head of the UP-ISSI Business Enterprise Development Division and one of the SciCAT project leaders, during his presentation, underscored the importance of the agricultural extension services coupled with the package of technologies (POT) developed by SUCs/RDIs in accelerating the creation of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The rest of the conference was allotted for the project leaders to present their respective accomplishments for the last four years, including the key improvements at the farm, the status of the site’s deliverables, and budget utilization. The project leaders received remarkable feedback from the evaluators and some were asked to identify the necessary steps, resources, and recommendations in sustaining the initiative as the funding and support provided by DOST-PCAARRD will already end.
The exit conference was made extra celebratory on the official launching of the SciCAT Instructor’s Manual and Student Workbook. Both manuals cover a wide range of topics and steps important to the day-to-day operations of an agritourism farm. Copies of the guidebook were provided to all participants during the exit conference.
Prof. Melanie M. Moraga-Leaño, the director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries, delivered closing remarks where she synthesized the proceedings of the whole-day conference. She reminded the participants of the value of the learning curve.
“This gathering allowed us to spot the things that we have to improve on. As we act, we also assess so that we know what could be done to improve the process. The next time that we will encounter the same challenges and issues, we are now confident to make tough decisions because we already know better,” she said.
“We hope to sustain the partnership that we have forged with the DOST-PCAARRD and other partners. It was such a joy working with all of you,” she added.
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