When Eagles Soar Once More

by Robert Domoguen, DA/IFAD-CHARMP2

Joey Ayala, Filipino cultural musician and artist is an IFAD KLM favourite. Last year, he entertained the KLM crowd with songs and words that are close to the heart. His own kind of art speaks about IFAD to give hope and life to the poor, I believe.

In the recently concluded RP-Japan and IFAD KLM, Joel joined the exhibitors, visitors, buyers and official participants to the policy forum on the final hour of the affair. He learned much on-the-spot and made the whole occasion end in fun. On-stage he wove his songs and commentaries on what he just learned from the participants. The act’s unfolding seizes your thoughts in that moment - of wishing for a longer IFAD-KLM time and facing the reality of leaving.

Hiking from SM Megamall to the hotel where we were billeted for the duration of the activity got me thinking about how he managed to help enrich and make the occasion another celebration of learning, visioning, and sharing of perspectives in the continuing quest to uplift the poor and develop better communities in our midst. It was tough act well done.

The RP-Japan KR2 and IFAD KLM brought project implementers together in one venue to highlight best practices and lessons learned during project implementation. The venue was also an opportunity for project beneficiaries from the different marginalized communities in the country to sell their good products made even more competitive through value chain development efforts. From start to finish, the unfolding of the 4th IFAD KLM made the participants saw in the theme “Shared Resources, Shared Development” that indeed, it is “better together.”

I saw this unfold as former agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor come over to our booth and engaged our exhibitors in a light but really serious talk. The Honourable Secretary and his new found friends talked about the production of heirloom coffee, supply and marketing, and working together in the promotion of organic products among small farmers as allies together in sustaining demand and improving the income of farmers. This is more than the selling of goods or satisfying an immediate need for cash. This is business, bridging lives, communities and culture – bringing about national progress. This event I just witnessed is certainly not an isolated case. Ms. Sheila Marie M. Encabo, OIC-Director, NEDA Agriculture Staff, in a brief survey done on the second day of this activity confirmed that the exhibitors made linkages and tie-ups among themselves for the production and marketing of their products.

Joey heard about the sad plight of Philippine agriculture from the participants of the 4thIFAD KLM here in Manila. In his brief cultural musicale, he sang about the disappearing eagle and his hope that they will return and fly free once more in our skies. Perception is vital to existence, he says. If we can’t see the possibilities for better living, how can we do something about them? Indeed. By seeing and acting on the possibilities for improved livelihood, we are learning and continuing in that path of sharing good legacies for better human living. Joey sees the almost extinct eagle soaring once more. To the participants, the concluded 4th IFAD KLM, I believe, imparted a renewed vision for Philippine agriculture to soar once more, giving better income for farmers and meeting the food needs of the nation. Together, all stakeholders can have that hope and truly live and enjoy the benefits of shared resources and development efforts and investments. Photos by: Robert Domoguen, DA/IFAD-CHARMP2