SEARCA helps Leyte women start banana and takudo chips production

20 March 2019

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has been helping women in Inopacan, Leyte to start a fruit and rootcrop chips processing enterprise through its inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) action research project that facilitated chips production trainings, the construction of a chips processing plant, and micro lending.

Focused on the upland communities of Inopacan, the SEARCA-funded ISARD project is jointly implemented by the Visayas State University (VSU), Visayas Consortium for Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Program (ViCAARP), and the local government of Inopacan.

The project provides assistance through participatory approaches in developing social enterprises focused on banana and three other commodities by linking farmer organizations with various institutions and entrepreneurs to do business.

The SEARCA project partnered with the VSU Food Processing Center to train the Hinabay Women Workers’ Association in processing banana chips as well as takudo chips.

The women’s group added takudo, a rootcrop widely grown in the area, as another frying chip material because it is cheaper than banana.

The establishment of a chips processing plant in Inopacan was facilitated by the project with funding from the local government of Inopacan. The women’s group was thus able to train on-site with hands-on exercises that easily enabled them to start chips production right away.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has been tapped to provide a banana chip cutter and fryer to better equip the processing plant.

The SEARCA ISARD project in Inopacan is led by Dr. Jose Bacusmo, former president of VSU, and coordinated by Dr. Jose Medina of SEARCA.

Aside from banana and takudo chips enterprise development, the project is also working on improving the production of jackfruit, tilapia culture to contribute to household food security, and environmental sustainability through the integrated coconut farming system.

Philippine government-hosted SEARCA has embarked on upscaling effective models of ISARD to strengthen the linkages among farmers, industry players, and government institutions in achieving ISARD outcomes of food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation.



Members of the Hinabay Women Workers’ Association prepare the fried banana chips for packaging.
The Inopacan banana chips processing plan

27 March 2019

21 Phl universities, colleges join Southeast Asian polytechnic meet

IPOH, Malaysia—The Philippines was represented by 36 higher education executives from 17 state universities and colleges and four private universities as well as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at a Southeast Asian conference on technical and vocation education and training (TVET) convened here by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) last March 26-27.

SEAMEO is promoting TVET among learners and their parents through more visible investments in the field, and improving relevance of the curricula to focus on creativity and innovation. The SEAMEO Strategic Dialogue of Education Ministers (SDEM) also agreed that TVET in the region can be enhanced through the development of a regional policy framework for labor, skills and learner mobility. 

TESDA is the lead TVET institution in the Philippines, with various vocational schools and state colleges and universities offering TVET courses.

Meeting participants also included officials from the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), which has been actively supporting TVET since it was tapped by SEAMEO to lead a research on competency certification for agricultural workers in Southeast Asia to promote TVET in agriculture.

The 5th SEAMEO Polytechnic Network Meeting that concluded yesterday was hosted by Malaysia’s Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education under the Ministry of Education and the Politeknik Ungku Omar, with the SEAMEO Secretariat as co-organizer.

The annual meeting serves as a platform for TVET institutions to discuss and collaborate in the implementation of the cross-country TVET student exchange program. Currently on its fourth offering, the program aims to enhance the internationalization and partnership of TVET institutions and promote global competitiveness and 21st century skills of TVET students in Southeast Asia.

The Philippine delegation to this year’s meeting were officials of Bicol State College of Applied Science and Technology, Bulacan State University, Camarines Norte State College, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, Central Luzon State University, Central Mindanao University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Guimaras State College, Iloilo Science and Technology University, Iloilo State College of Fisheries, Lyceum Northwestern University, Mariano Marcos State University, Mindoro State College of Agriculture of Technology, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, Pangasinan State University, President Ramon Magsaysay State University, Saint Louis University, Tarlac Agricultural University, Trimex Colleges Inc., University of Mindanao, and University of the Immaculate Conception.


10 April 2019

Study documents successful benefit-sharing schemes of forest communities

A study on existing benefit-sharing mechanisms in the Philippine community-based forest management (CBFM) is underway to look into how CBFM-People’s Organizations (CBFM-POs) manage the distribution of benefits as influenced by community characteristics and social structures, among others.

The research project is financed by the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Strategic Response Fund (ASRF), which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and administered by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

The Philippine government adopted CBFM as the national strategy to achieve sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation, and social equity. A key component in the design and implementation of CBFM is the provision of socioeconomic benefits to community members such as employment, dividends from project profits, capacity building, and strengthening of social networks.

Implemented by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the project examines the relationship among local government institutions, communities, and CBFM programs on benefit-sharing mechanisms.

The project is expected to develop policy recommendations consisting of a menu of benefit-sharing mechanisms that CBFM-POs may adopt. It will also serve as guide for DENR Field Office personnel to effectively assist CBFM-POs. 

Nine CBFM-POs are being documented by the project. Three are located in Luzon: Tao Kalikasan Foundation of the Philippines in Labo, Camarines Norte; LBN Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Vintar, Ilocos Norte; and Caunayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

Two are in the Visayas: Nalundan United Farmers Association, Inc. in Bindoy, Negros Oriental and Katilingban sang Pumuluyo nga naga-Atipan sang Watershed sa Maasin in Maasin, Iloilo.

The rest are in Mindanao: San Isidro Upland Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Santiago, Agusan del Norte; Limatong Dalumangkom Bual Farmers Multipurpose Association in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato; Malakiba People’s Improvement Multipurpose Cooperative in Davao City; and Imbayao Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) People’s Organization (PO) in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

A technical working group has been created for the project. Documentation tools that include key informant interview guide as well as guide questions for focus group discussion and video documentation, as well as a stakeholder-friendly primer on benefit-sharing have been developed.

Field documentation was already conducted in the two Visayas sites and the Davao City site.

The results of the field documentation will be packaged into a set of policy recommendations through a series of consultation meetings and workshops.

The output of the SEARCA-ASRF project will be presented in a national workshop to further draw inputs and recommendations from CBFM-POs regional representatives, regional CBFM coordinators, and other CBFM stakeholders or practitioners such as civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the academe, among others.