Best FITS Center Blog Series I: Remedios Trinidad Romualdez, Agusan del Norte

FITS-Remedios Trinidad Romualdes is one of the best FITS Center in Region 13

Currently the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) through the Information Services Division (ISD) is conducting a rapid monitoring of the more than 500 Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Centers in the country. The monitoring activity aims to assess the current status of these FITS Centers as well as to determine if these FITS Centers are still active.

For every FITS center that I visit it gives me the chance to know the strategies that the FITS staff employs in order to be successful in helping those who are part of the agricultural sector.

In this blog series, I will feature some of the best FITS Center that I have visited. And for my initial post for this series I will feature the LGU-FITS of Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR) in Agusan del Norte.

In Caraga Region, there are 18 FITS center already established but none has been more successful than the LGU-FITS in RTR in Agusan del Norte.

IEC Materials Dissemination

One of the primary services of the FITS is the provision of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials to clients. In the case of FITS-RTR where the focused commodity is rice, there is a rich resource of reading materials on rice as well as other commodities. They distribute IEC materials to clients but reproducing the IEC materials through photocopying.

FITS Center Office Space
Unlike other FITS Centers that we had visited where the LGU just provided a little space within the municipal agriculture office (MAO) for the operation of the FITS. For RTR it has provided a separate space for its FITS that is adequate enough to accommodate large group of clients.

Sources of Funding

I have observed that one of the strengths of FITS-RTR is finding institutions that can be a source of funding for their FITS Center.

FITS-RTR is a recipient of the Philippine Community e-Center (CeC) program under the DOST-National Computer Center (DOST-NCC) where a grant of four computers was given to RTR. This was made possible after NCC approved a proposal submitted by RTR. Likewise since FITS-RTR has internet connection online resources such as e-Learning courses for A&F can also be accessed.

Funding for FITS-RTR has not been a problem since they have been diligent in submitting proposal to funding institution. The building where the agriculture office is housed is just a proof of their diligence in submitting proposals. DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) has funded the construction of the building. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has also provided netbooks for all the agricultural technicians.
Manpower Complement

Another unique set up for FITS-RTR is its complementary manpower specifically its technology service specialist (TSS) where all the technicians in the agriculture office have been appointed as TSS. With the technicians assigned according to their expertise, there is TSS for each commodity such as rice, corn, organic agriculture, livestock, etc.

Pilot Area for AWS

FITS-RTR has also been chosen as one of the pilot areas for monitoring the Automatic Weather Stations (AWS). This project aims to use weather based indexing in producing crops.  The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has also used the AWS system as a basis for giving insurance.

RTR is classified as a 5th class municipality but that did not become a hindrance for FITS-RTR in providing first class services to farmers and fishers. Having that genuine sense of providing quality service to clients is enough reason for RTR to have the best FITS Center that they can offer. And because of that FITS-RTR is a model FITS that other LGUs can replicate.