Best FITS Center Blog Series III: Iligan City

One of the better FITS Centers in Northern Mindanao is in Iligan City

Currently the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) through the Information Services Division (ISD) is conducting a rapid monitoring of the more than 700 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. For the third installment of this series I will feature the LGU-FITS of Iligan City in Northen Mindanao.

Iligan City has long been known more as an Industrial city more than agricultural. But with the occurrence of the Asian economic crisis in the latter part of the 1990’s, a shift to agri-industrial was necessary. The city government recognized the importance of technology promotion in bridging the gaps of agricultural development. This is where the FITS Center of Iligan City came into the picture as it became a resource center for everything about agriculture as well as fisheries.

One Barangay, One Product

Copying from the concept of one town, one product, FITS Iligan takes it further to the grassroots with its program on One Barangay, One Product. According to FITS Manager Marie Ann Beley, they have coordinated with every barangay to identify a product that they can develop and the city government will help them market it through the FITS Center. Iligan City has 44 barangays and the FITS center will be able to promote and market 44 products.

Information Dissemination

One of the strengths of FITS Iligan is not only in acquiring and disseminating Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials but also in producing their own IECs. The Information Service Specialist (ISS) and FITS manager have produced at least eight titles of IEC materials mostly on production technologies.

Aside from IEC materials, the FITS center also has internet connection where walk-in clients can access and avail of digitized information materials. Another form of info dissemination for the FITS is the video showing that they conducted for their clients. They have various videos on production technologies from different crops that they have availed from ATI.

Magsasaka Syentista (MS)

FITS Iligan is lucky enough to have two active MS that helps in serving the clients of the FITS. ATI have advocated for more than one MS for every FITS and FITS Iligan is just one of the few who have already done this. The focus commodity of the FITS is bamboo and squash. Arthur Fernando is their MS on bamboo while Grace Halbas for squash. The farm of MS Halbas is also an ATI learning site.

Passionate FITS Manager and Supportive LGU

After typhoon Sendong hit majority of region 10 which includes Iligan City, the FITS Center was one of the establishments that was damaged. But with the support of the LGU primarily through its City Agriculturist Octavius J. Molo and the passion of FITS manager Beley in continuing with its FITS operation, the center was re-established.

Adequate Space for FITS

The FITS center in Iligan can boast that they have allocated adequate space for clients when they visit the center. Aside from IEC materials on display, they are products from their focused commodity of bamboo that were exhibited. Walk-in clients would really love to visit this FITS center because of the ambience of the place not mention all the resources that they can avail.

FITS Iligan has proven its resilience that whatever calamities come its way the FITS Center can withstand it as long as you have a supportive local government and passionate FITS staff.  With the service that the FITS Center gives to their constituents, the city of Iligan will one day not only be known for its majestic waterfalls but also for its contributions to agricultural development in the country.