Friday, May 14, 2010

FITS Batad’s OPV course features USM corn experts

By Eva S. Montero

Manager, FITS Batad

On April 27–29, 2010, the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center in Batad, Iloilo hosted a course on Open-Pollinated Variety (OPV) corn seed production, featuring corn experts from the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) based in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Mr. William B. Malacad, facilitator and officer-in-charge of corn seed production at USM, shared his expertise on the cultural management practices of corn; while Dr. Abraham G. Castillo, vice-president for resource generation & entrepreneurial services, lectured on field monitoring. Dr. Amancio D. Manceras focused on plant breeding while Iloilo Provincial Corn Coordinator Almie Villamera taught farmers on pest and nutrient management.

Mr. Nemisio Argumento, chief of the National Seed Quality Control Services (NSQCS) of Region 6, oriented the farmers on the nitty-gritty of seeds certification in the region.

Coordinated by LGU Batad and Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC) VI, the three-day OPV course benefited some 45 corn farmers representing the 24 barangays. Participants also included agriculture students and faculty of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) Batad Campus in Batad, Iloilo.


The FITS Batad initiative sought to enhance the capability for corn farmers even as it banners the product for One Town One Product (OTOP).

Participants found that the prospects of corn seed production as a lucrative source of income. “We are thankful to Batad FITS and University of Southern Mindanao (USM), for this technology that could help us gain profit,” said Rodrigo Bigbig, a corn farmer from barangay Calangag.

Batad Mayor Elvira P. Alarcon recognized the advantages and market potential of OPVs. “The use of high-yielding OPV will create tremendous increase in the production level of farmers with low input. Our farmers could produce OPV corn seeds which could augment their income,” Alarcon said.

Encouraging farmers to apply in their respective farms what they have learned from the training, Castillo also urged them that the resources in corn seed production have been placed at their disposal. “Huwag nyong ipagkait ang inyong nalaman sa training na ito (Please share what you have learned from the training course),” Castillo said.

The lecture seminar also allowed for corn farmers to organize a cooperative that will launch OPV seed production Batad. Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Rolando Lamigo (appointed by WESVARRDEC in 2009) was elected president.

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