Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Development Council (RDC) VI, through the NEDA VI Project Development, Investment Programming and Budgeting Division, led the conduct of the Technology Promotion and Investment Workshops to push the realization of  the existing WV Priority Commodities Road Maps .  The series of follow-through activities, held from October 2020 to February 2021, involved the roll-out of webinars and trainings for various stakeholders.  This undertaking, with a cost of P1.5 million, was funded by the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office VI.  It aims to provide farmers/producers, processors, and agri-preneurs with additional knowledge needed to improve their production, processing and marketing of products of the regional priority commodities, namely: mango, native chicken, high-value vegetable-cabbage, natural fiber-abaca & silk, Muscovado sugar, and aquaculture-milkfish. A total of 523 stakeholders were trained by the DA, SRA, PhilFIDA and BFAR in Region VI.

Following the completion of the upskilling activities, the NEDA VI called for a final meeting to assess the activities and review the Western Visayas Priority Commodities Roadmap Action Plan on May 21, 2021 via Zoom.  During said meeting, the accomplishments, lessons learned, and ways forward were shared and discussed. Major agreements reached were:  1) for the 11 SUCs to embark on model farms establishment for the priority commodities, 2) include herbs and spices under high-value crops, and 3) include product packaging and marketing as additional interventions by key regional line agencies.  The meeting was presided over by NEDA VI and attended by heads/representatives of the DA, BFAR, SRA, PhilFIDA, DTI, DOST, and the President of the Regional Association of SUCs.

With Western Visayas economy still reeling from the impact of the pandemic, the realization of the Action Plan is seen to help the region recover. (Lourie Ann Secreto/NRO-PDIPBD)