NEGROS Occidental has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Association of Negros Producers, Inc. (ANP) to promote and intensify the use of computer-based systems for the traceability of the province's agricultural products. The collaboration under the program dubbed WeTrace Philippines was formalized during the signing of a memorandum of agreement in a ceremony held at the Capitol Social Hall Thursday. Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino and Provincial Environment Management Officer Wilfred Ramon Peñalosa signed on behalf of the province. Other signatories were DOST Western Visayas Assistant Regional Director Emilyn Flores and ANP president Christina Gaston. The program, which covers the entire commodity chain in key pilot areas of the province, will be piloted in the cities of Kabankalan, San Carlos and Silay. WeTrace Philippines, a multi-stakeholder partnership backed by Justice Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is envisioned to become the proponent of transparency and traceability in local agriculture by 2020 that will translate to upscaling the value chain while promoting good agricultural practices and adhering to food safety standards.

WeTrace Philippines supports the use of Kipus web-app tool developed and implemented by Knowledge Intelligence Applications GmbH (KIAG), which digitally records farming activities. The analysis of data collected will allow farmers to come up with recommendations to improve their production to boost the marketability of agricultural products. The WeTrace project is also being implemented in Vietnam by the Support Center of Agricultural Enterprise and Farm. The Vietnamese partners have sent a delegation to the Philippines led by Thanh Dang Huy for benchmarking exercise and knowledge exchange session. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Dr. Stephan Kunz of Justice Foundation and Julia Haasler of BMZ, with Corinna Peters of KIAG and ANP Executive Director Elka Torrejon. (PNA)

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