TALAVERA, NUEVA ECIJA- Micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) and small farmers in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces will soon benefit from a modern training center inaugurated in this town.

Dubbed as the Talavera Agricultural and Social Enterprise Training Center, it was established by the Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc., or ASKI a non-government organization based in Cabanatuan City promoting socio-economic development through its various financial and non-financial programs and services in the last 28 years.

TASEC is housed in a 2.8-hectare property with 12 rooms and managed by the ASKI Skills and Knowledge Institute, Inc., the capacity building arm of ASKI catering the training needs of its clients, non-clients and staff.

ASKI is serving more than 130,000 clients in Regions 1, 2 and 3 and more than 23,000 of them are farmers and hoped to benefit from the training courses being offered by the institute.

The center will serve as a training venue for trainings in microfinance management, cooperative development, and business development services comprising financial education and entrepreneurship trainings for MSMEs and will provide event management, team-building and values transformation activities.

Rolando B. Victoria, executive director of ASKI said that “the center will be alearning and technology hub empowering MSMEs and small farmers with modernized and experienced-based agricultural practices aside from micro-agriculture financial program to cope up with different farming challenges.”

To maximize the innovations on farming technologies, ASKI will strengthen public-private co-innovation partnership withagricultural institutions. Different and state-of-the-art agricultural research facilities are located in Nueva Ecija like PhiRice [Philippine Rice Research Institute], PhilMech [Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization] and CLSU [Central Luzon State University], among others.

Through the partnership, farmers will experience hands-on trainings and will be provided with demonstrations on farming technologies. Farmers and farming community groups will be equipped with entrepreneurial mindset, the third major element in tripartite partnership, recognizing the importance of marketing in agricultural development intervention including the value chain program for agriculture.

Moreover, it will cater TESDA-accredited courses such Microfinance Technology Course II and Housekeeping NC II.

“ASKI is also eyeing to put up a dormitory and hotel that will house the training participants and our guests here and abroad. This can also generate jobs as we can employ the children of our clients who will finish the housekeeping course. We hope to start the next phase of the project in the coming years,” Victoria added.

The blessing and inauguration was graced by TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva, Regional Director Teodoro Gatchalian and Coca-Cola Philippines Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Atty. Adel Tamano. ASKI officials, headed by ASKI Chairperson and President Alicia Caliwag, Executive Director Rolando Victoria, and Training Institute Director Mary Jane P. Macapagal were also present. ###

ASKIor Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., a non-government and non-profit microfinance institution established in 1987 has been reaching out communities to provide financial and non-financial services for the development of its clientele. ASKISkills and Knowledge Institute, Inc. was established on June 11, 2010. It serves as the capacity-building arm of the ASKI Group of Companies.(Veronica Hernandez)