Some 250 farmers, stakeholders of the corn industry, representatives of the Techno Gabay Program, seed technology companies and pesticide and fertilizer companies; government officials, teachers and students witnessed the first Municipal Corn Congress, FITS Day and Corn Derby hosted by the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center Batad on October 5, 2010 at Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) Batad Campus Social Hall and OPV Corn Techno-Demo Research Farm in Batad, Iloilo. No less than Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor himself led the opening rites and activities.
According to FITS Batad Manager Eva Montero, the congress sought to encourage farmers to adopt the open-pollinated varieties of corn and use natural farming system to increase their corn yield. Montero said that the first Corn Derby sought to showcase the technology in the corn techno-demo research farm as well as to allow corn farmers and stakeholders to see the performance of the corn technology package.
To encourage students to cook up value-adding recipe for corn, the center also hosted a Corn Dish Cooking Contest. Seven entries representing the six NIPSC campuses were evaluated by the team composed of Dr. Raul Ticar, Director of Capiz State University’s Extension Institute, Dr. Lelisa Teodosio, RMIS Representative of Aklan State University and Ms. Dina Palma, Information Services Specialist of FITS Oton in Iloilo. NIPSC Ajuy’s “Corn Ala Risotto on a bed of Stir-Fried Vegetables with Chicken Curry Sauce” (Fusion of European and Oriental Cuisine the Filipino Way) romped away with the top prize, followed by NIPSC Batad’s “Maize con Carne” and NIPSC Sara’s “Baby Young Corn Sisig.”
The initiative was done in collaboration with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Batad, NIPSC Batad and Agricultural Training Institute-RTC 6. All these efforts formed part of FITS Batad’s initiative to establish and showcase high-yielding open-pollinated varieties (OPV) of corn, improved technologies and better farm practices. In April 2009, the Center sponsored the OPV seed production technology training in collaboration with partners from the Cotabato-based University of Southern Mindanao.