, FEBRUARY 7, 2007
  (STAR) By Rudy A. Fernandez - Itís simply called NITS.

It stands for National Information and Technology Services center, a facility that looks forward to broadening the horizons of information delivery systems in the country.

The NITS center is an integrated system of extension services that aims to harmonize the information and technology delivery programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).

It was launched last Jan. 30 during a program marking the observance of ATIís 20th founding anniversary.

Among those who delivered messages during the programís launch were former Agriculture Secretary William Dar, now director general of the India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), ATI director Asterio Saliot, BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar, and PCARRD executive director Patricio Faylon.

Among those present during the affair were representatives of the countryís academic and R&D communities and industry.

NITS exemplifies the thrust of the Arroyo administration to harness information technology to push farther the frontiers of agriculture and science and technology through the initiative of the DA headed by Secretary Arthur Yap and DOST under Secretary Estrella Alabastro.

As stressed by ATIís Antoi-nette Arceo, the NITS center is a "convergence initiative" of the two government departments through their respective agencies.

The center is responsible for the development and distri-bution of knowledge products in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Also, it hopes to enhance knowledge sharing through the use of information and commu-nications technology (ICT).

The NITS center, based at the ATI office along the Elliptical Road in Diliman, Quezon City, is equipped with printed infor-mation, education, and commu-nication materials on various agricultural and fisheries techno-logy, Internet access, and video conferencing facilities for easier information access of researchers and technology users.

The facility will provide the following information services: technologies in multimedia format, exhibits of new technologies and products, Internet access, subject matter specialists, and databases.

The technology services it offers are technology training, clinic, fora, technological assistance, and support for enterprise development.

Apart from pooling of technical experience, financial and human resources, ATI, BAR and PCARRD are assigned with specific roles and responsibilities related to each agencyís mandate to ensure that the NITSí functions and goals are carried out well.

ATI, for instance, is tasked with coordinating, facilitating and supervising the establishment and operationalization of the NITS center in close collaboration with DOST-PCARRD and DA-BAR.

It will also provide resources such as manpower, facilities and funds to maintain and sustain its effective use toward ensuring its institutionalization, and collabo-rate with local government units and other agencies for dissemi-nation and promotion of agri-culture and fisheries technologies.

For their part, DA-BAR and DOST-PCARRD will provide technical assistance and funding support in the establishment and operationalization of the NITS center.

Further, BAR will provide basic equipment to facilitate the delivery of the centerís services, and link it with the scientific community and the research, development, and extension network.

PCARRD will also link the center with the scientific community and the PCARRD-coordinated National Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Network.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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