Monday, November 08, 2010

Govt concern for corn real, Negros farmers say

By Vishia Mae Dominic J Tolcidas

RACG Representative

FITS OPA Negros Occidental

“The concern of government on the plight of farmers is not just lip-service; it’s real,” thus said Nestor Servando, one of the more than 100 graduates who completed the Science and Technology Training for the Development of a Sustainable Corn Industry in Negros Occidental held at the Negros State College of Agriculture (NSCA) in Kabankalan City, southern Negros Occidental.

Servando, a farmer-leader of Barangay Oringao in the city said he is happy and thankful that the first-ever Negros tripartite training was conducted. He said he learned a lot because the training was basic and easy-to-understand.

Small farmers and agriculturists from municipal and city governments recently received their certificates of completion for the first phase of the training from Regional Technical Director Joyce Wendam and Regional Corn Coordinator Ricardo Saltin of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 6 (DA-RFU 6), and Sangguniang Panlungsod Chairman on Agriculture Ricardo Regalia, Jr. at the Mount Ballo Hall in Barangay Camingawan.

“What I really like is the coming and working together of farmers, academicians and technicians on teaching and learning corn technology. Our instructors learned from our ideas and experiences while we learned appropriate technology and interventions from them,” said the 46-year old farmer.

“I will use this knowledge on increasing production and income to have enough money to spend for the schooling of my seven children,” said Servando. “I will also share this knowledge with my fellow farmers,” he added.

Servando finished elementary school but owns half an hectare of corn, and one hectare each of rice, sugarcane, and forest trees.


(Clockwise from left) Corn farmers trainees undertake agro ecosystems analysis in a corn demo farm at the Negros State College of Agriculture (NSCA); Mr. Armando Abaño briefs farmers on some concepts on corn farming; and corn farmers exchange ideas and information on raising the staple in a farm school at NSCA in Kabankalan City.

Alejandro Nalagon, meanwhile, said the first part of the year-round training on corn was like one year of studying Agriculture.

He said yield on corn could be higher if the right technology and approaches are used,” said the 32-year old Agriculture graduate who works as a guard at NSCA. “I am even more determined to be a corn farmer. All I need is capital,” said the farmer from Barangay Tabugon, also in Kabankalan.

Nalagon, a crop science major, presented his study on the effectiveness of the Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus on earworm-infected corn at the Technology Forum the day before the graduation rites.

Another graduate Eliseo Javalde, Jr. of the Calatrava Agriculture Office said he has become a more effective agricultural technician. “We kept attending even if we have budgetary constraints because we are inspired at the farmers’ attentiveness and openness to learn. Our interactions were interesting and lively,” he said.

The organizing and training team of the corn program sees to it that the program is participatory, location-specific, and research-oriented, said NSCA Research and Development Services Director Mae Flor Posadas.

The second phase of the corn training started this November while Phase III ends by middle of 2011. Agencies actively involved in the training are NSCA, Kabankalan City Government, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, DA-RFU 6, Agricultural Training Institute, Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium, and private companies that donated seeds and fertilizers.

Sustainable agriculture and rural development are the thrusts of Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez, Jr. under the Food Security Program of the NEGROS FIRST Agenda. This includes increasing production areas for corn not only as the second staple food of Negrosanons but also as feed for the poultry and livestock industry.

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