RED A. Enriquez Underscores Harmonized Efforts in Agriculture Services

Department of Agriculture-7’s OIC Regional Executive Director Angel Enriquez has recently underscored the importance of harmonizing efforts in the delivery of agriculture development services.

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Better life seen in Downstreaming Research

cparArchived researches could never see the fulfillment of the researchers.

There are a hundred researches conducted by many individuals and organizations but many of it go to the bookshelves and gather dust. The birth of the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) in Central Visayas has been a blessing to the farmers who were manacled to the old practice of farming giving them low production and income for years.

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Meeting the Demands of the Cassava Industry in the Region

casava1Region 7 has something to be proud, and that is its flourishing cassava industry.

The region’s largely industrial and commercial profile made the demand of the cassava ubiquitous. Its wide usage include for food, feeds, fuel and other industrial uses.

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DA Secretary visited Cebu City Uplands, gave away projects

CEBU CITY  -  About  P3.5 M   worth of projects were distributed     to farmers and rural organizations  in  Cebu City     by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during his visit  in this city’s uplands last week.

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YOUNG HEROES IN AGRICULTURE

Raffy Tinagan of  Bajumpandan, Dumaguete City , is a  young and idealistic lad who grew up in a financially-challenged environment , yet he never considered it a hindrance. He believes that farming can  alleviate his situation.
 
 
The searing heat of the sun does not stop Raffy from growing vegetables , instead he innovates for his vegetables to survive.
 
A group of young farmers in Dumaguete City, hopes to make a difference by engaging in farming and other livelihood projects to prepare them of the future challenges in life.

For this, the the DA family is one in saluting to the real heroes in agriculture-the FARMERS!

Saluting the Unsung Heroes of Agriculture in the National Year of Rice

Dignified  and  proud  are what we want  the Filipino farmers to feel.
Unlike their  foreign counterpart,   our farmers pale in comparison to them in terms of wealth, standard of living, and  access to technology, but with  Presidential Proclamation No. 494, otherwise known as the National Year of Rice (NYR),  it is the aim of President Benigno Aquino and Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala  that  the ordinary farmer will no longer say to himself , “I’m just a poor farmer,” but with dignity , he can proudly say “ I am a farmer!”  
The AgriPinoy Framework of the Department of Agriculture has designed program  features for farmers to be the focal recipient of benefits. The NYR is a year-long celebration which aims to boost the morale of farmers  by prioritizing or catering to their basic needs in order  to attain their dreams. The question is how can that happen?
Just like a cocoon in the process of becoming a butterfly, it has to take the form of ugliness before it takes a beautiful form of a butterfly- the farmers too had stories of pains before they achieved economic upliftment.
The farmers  trying experience througout  the Philippine history has made the Department of Agriculture Regional Office reinvent its strategies  to capacitate the farmers in terms of access to technology as  the  centerfold of the DA programs. Through the leadership of OIC-Regional Executive Director Angel Enriquez,  the agency has targetted deliverables that will aid the farmers in their efficiency as farm managers.  Such targets are directly proportional to the goal of the region to produce 20.04 mt per hectare in 2013 and 22.7 mt per hectare in 2016. The task is doubled by the goal to maintain the per capita consumption of rice at 120 kg/ per person.
The wearisome routine in the farm  may indeed decimate the farmer’s inspiration to pursue his noble job with the undulating price in the market  making him a  loser at times . But  the testimony of a couple  in Toledo City proves that the emergence of farm mechanization has been instrumental in uplifitng their economic status.
 Julio Alingawa , who has been farming for 30 years, stood the test of time  when  he experienced the ups and downs of farming and yet fervently pursued it. “There were times when expectations turn into frustrations when floods and strong typhoons devastate my farm but my zeal to continue prevails.” Now, he looks back, though not totally complacent  of calamities that may strike, but the thought sinks in him  that farming finally  made him enjoy the fruits of his labor. “ That fulfillment cannot be achieved without the help of adopting technologies introduced by the DA, “ he said. The tractor economized his farm labor by 50%, and that’s how he earned big savings allowing him to buy vehicles to mobilize his farm business and a comfortable  concrete house for his family.
 
Florencia and Julio Alingawa testified how the tractor economized farm labor and ultimatley improved their income.
Boosting the farmers’ morale- a major goal of the NYR , may well be achieved if farmers gain the confidence in sharing their triumphs in adversities- an experience that not only comes to the fortunate, but to the ones who would persevere ,  and are eclectic in both adopting information and  technologies.  
The future probalities of each person, must be instilled in each farmer to achieve their dream and destiny in life, for had Jun stopped farming on the fifth year , he would never have seen comfort in life.  But Jun is just one of the few successful voices of the estimated 21 million farmers and fisherfolk in the country today. The struggle goes on for the millions who have yet to unshackle themselves from poverty and yet have painstakingly contributed in feeding the nine billion mouths in this planet.

Ancient Treasures in Agriculture

They survived, sustained life and lived life abundantly in the past.

Ancient folk talk of how the fields gave back life to humans as they treated the soil as if it were a living soul. This is ancient knowledge that have preserved the fertility of the soil and making it a treasure that could preseve mankind in the modern world of machines, computers, and terrible wastes that refuse to  decompose. Modern day farmers are now taking a look at how the ancient farmers created plentiful production despite the lack of farm machineries and soil treatment.   

We are just grateful that the meme to sustain organic agriculture has inspired the farmers in the region, who through the years have been battered with advertisements  to switch to  chemical agriculture.

The advancing world could be  blamed for the decay of the once fertile soil. This was the thought I gathered from an interview with the  Director for Research and Development of the Bohol Island State University, Marina Labonite, when she recalled in her highschool days how they were being trained in the academe to stick to conventional or organic farming to preserve the soil. But a disruption of the thought came when there was a deluge of advocacies  from multinational companies  for chemical farming. She reminisced , how farmers started to become heavy users of chemicals until in 1998, the farmers experienced problems in their farms.

Compacted soil, low yield,  surge of pests and diseases are just some of the problems that were encountered , not to mention the various illnesses chemical farming wrought to them. Labonite recounted the time when farmers came to her for help. A collaborative effort was then made to rescue the ailing farming communities- a needs assessment was necessary to unveil solutions of their current dilemma.

Interestingly, the farmers themselves realized that somehow their abandonment of the once treasured knowledge and practice in organic agriculture is the primary cause of their plight.

Hand in hand with the Department of Agriculture, the Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) and the Bohol Island State University- each institution gave her piece to solve the problem.  The DA assisted the farmers to re-learn the Natural Farming System (NFS), and introduced the use of the trichoderma and the effective micro-organisms in the field.

It was the need that made them realize   their mistakes  and made them discover the once forgotten treasure in agriculture.

Availabilty of the long lost traditional rice varieties  was a requirement to pursue their desire to harmonize with nature. Use of  the traditional varieties incur less expenses and less incidence of pests and diseases- the farmers recalled.

It was a long and tedious task as  to who should handle the storage of seeds due to lack of space but finally the brilliant idea to  have the farmers produce their own seed and bank it at BISU was a  relief to the stand off. Currenlty they have 162 accessions  and farmers  are taught to breed rice using the traditional cross-breeding technique. Farmers still look for the old varieties such as Malubang, Paganahaw and the Milagrosa., as these are less tedious to grow. Labonite confidently said that 90% of the farmers in Bilar have reconnected with their treasured past by practicing organic agriculture   and utilizing their self-made fertilizers using rice straw , rice hulls and other farm wastes.

Surprisingly, the farmers realized that going back to the ancient practice of organic agriculture has eradicated their seemingly perennial problem of pervading pests and diseases and even their products have sure markets  while it is yet  standing in the field.

Reliving the Ancient Treasure
 
Vermiculture is as ancient as the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who lived in 384 to 322 B.C. , when he mentioned in his writings the role of  earthworms in maintaining the soil. But the interest of  the lowly earthworms was stirred up by Darwin who published his article on ‘The Formation of Vegetable Mould  Through the Action of Worms.’ Environment degradation caused by heavy use of chemicals is the key factor why nature lovers  continue  to wield to  ancient  organic agriculture which uses mainly earthworms as  natural decomposers.

Creating a lifestyle to go organic is not a difficult task for the DA,  as many health buffs have expressd their willingness to support the idea. Aside from the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture , Proceso J. Alcala,  who authored the Organic  Agriculture Act of 2010 , known as Republic Act 10068 , the four governors of the Central Visayas provinces have as well thrown their hats to go organic.

The Mandaue Experiment Station (MES) offers technical assistance to clients from all walks of life.  Adoption of organic agriculture is not  speedy but is steadily rising, Ronnie Jamola, Chief of the MES said.  

The facility is often visited by students who go on a study-tour on organic agriculture. Though organic agriculture is relatively young in the region,   its demand in the market is increasing- the prime reason why   farmers begin to revive the ancient practice of organic farming.

Organic agriculture maybe ancient but it is a great find in the region.

DA allots P500M to promote hybrid rice

The Department of Agriculture is allotting P500 million to encourage more farmers to plant hybrid rice varieties, and contribute in attaining national rice sufficiency by the end of this year and beyond.

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Planting a Seed of Hope for Transformation

A thriving city in the south of Cebu, Carcar is still largely agricultural with an estimated  200 farmers growing eggplants. The exposure to use chemicals in spraying eggplants has become a widely accepted practice. Just like Marino Quisa-ot , an eggplant farmer who had been planting for 20 years, realized that somehow he has to be freed from the use of chemicals which has eaten a lion’s share of his supposedly farm income.

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Phl eyes onion exports, sends trial shipment to Japan

The Philippines is eyeing to export yellow onions to other countries, starting with Japan.

The Department of Agriculture is partnering with the National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. (Nogrocoma) to make it a reality. Several DA and NOGROCOMA officials sent off a trial shipment of 20 metric tons of yellow granex onions to Japan, on March 16, 2013, at the Manila Harbor Center.

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