Empowering Indigenous Agriculture with Smarter Technologies: Project SARAi and Project STC4iD Training Initiatives in Oriental Mindoro

SARAI photo

Agricultural stakeholders gather for a two-day event to enhance farming practices and agricultural sustainability in the province. In a bid to promote smarter agriculture technologies and empower farmers in the indigenous communities of Oriental Mindoro, a training program was conducted on 21-22 March 2024 at Mindoro State University (MinSU) Main Campus, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro. This event was organized by the Project Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (SARAi), in collaboration with the Project S&T Community-Based for Inclusive Development (STC4iD) on Livelihood Improvement of Mangyan Communities in Mindoro through Science and Technology (S&T) Interventions and Office of the Research and Extension of Mindoro State University (MinSU). 

This training aimed to capacitate the participants on the use of SARAi systems and technologies, particularly: SARAi Knowledge Portal, SPIDTECH, BanaTech, Bantay SARAi, Weather and Climate, Good Management Practices of Banana, and Post-typhoon rehabilitation of banana through lecture presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. The event brought together a diverse group of agricultural stakeholders that included Indigenous People (IP) Educators of Mangyan Community, Pampamayanang Mangyan Ugnayan Inc. (PMUI) staff, Farmer Leaders, Local Government Units (LGUs) of Oriental Mindoro, and faculty and researchers from MinSU. 

Hosted by MinSU, the event commenced with a welcome message from Director Lourdes Icalla of the Research and Extension Division. On the first day of the training, lectures were delivered by Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, Project Leader for the SARAi Integration; and SARAi Experts, Dr. Artemio Salazar, Mr. Gideon Aries Burgonio, Asst. Prof. Dara Fabro-Realin, Ms. Dara Miracle Montalbo, Ms. Maria Regina V. Regalado, Ms. Glaisa R. Garcia, Mr. Lance Irvin Elleva and Mr. Edgardo Agoncillo. One of the event’s highlights was the hands-on activities and field demonstration of the BanaTech and SPIDTECH which was facilitated during the second training day. Participants had the opportunity to learn from the SARAi Experts, engage in discussions, and explore the latest agricultural technologies designed to maximize crop production despite impacts brought by our changing climate. 

The training received positive feedback from participants who expressed enthusiasm about integrating the newly acquired knowledge and skills into their regular farming practices. The two-day event concluded with the closing message from Dr. Erwin Icalla, Project Leader of STC4iD. Dr. Icalla conveyed his appreciation towards Project SARAi, PMUI, and Project Educators for a fruitful two-day training, emphasizing further that he looks forward to adopting the systems and technologies of Project SARAi to capacitate more indigenous people in their community. (MEMAmante, RLDAreglado, MRVRegalado, BMLPedrezuela)

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