Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the groundbreaking ceremonies for the establishment of four infrastructure facilities worth P32 million (M) to benefit farmers, fishers and livestock raisers in Ilocos Sur.
Based at the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), Sta. Maria campus, the facilities include: a P20-M Agriculture Innovation Center (AIC) for agri, fishery and livestock; P7-M feed mill; P4-M tissue culture laboratory; and a P1-M solar-powered irrigation system.
Funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and Ilocos Regional Field Office (RFO1), the facilities will form part of the research and extension centers of the ISPSC to enhance the productivity of Ilocano farmers through modern technologies.
“We expect the outputs of these facilities to create more livelihood opportunities for smallholder farmers, fishers, livestock raisers, and food processors through sustained promotion of innovative technologies, entrepreneurship among the youth, and increased farm productivity,” said secretary Dar during the groundbreaking ceremonies, on September 25, 2020.
“Further, all this showcases the continuing efforts of the DA to respond to the needs of the agriculture sector, amid the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also geared at providing ISPSC students quality education based on science and technology,” he added.
“We are happy to be part of the development and growth of this institute of higher education so that you can produce graduates who will create job opportunities and livelihood to employ others,” secretary Dar said.
The DA-AIC will serve as a hub for the development of technical and entrepreneurial skills and innovative technologies.
It will also provide access to different public and private sector programs and enhance the links between other research institutions and state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Complementing the AIC is a tissue culture laboratory, which aims to improve the quality of planting materials to increase the productivity of farmers in Ilocos Sur and nearby provinces.
The two facilities are part of the DA-BAR Resiliency Response Research for Development (R4D) program that aims to mobilize and complement efforts of partner-institutions in the region.
For his part, DA-BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar said the two R4D facilities will not only capacitate researchers and scientists, but also empower farmers and fishers in Ilocos region.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by ISPSC president Dr. Gilbert Arce, Sta. Maria Mayor Brigido Camarillo, Jr., Governor Ryan Luis Singson, Congressman DV Savellano, Narvacan Mayor and former Governor Luis Chavit Singson, vice governor Jerry Singson, DA assistant secretary Noel Ocampo Reyes, DA-RFO1 director Nestor Domenden, farmer-leaders, and ISPSC faculty and students.

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