By Vishia Mae Dominic J Tolcidas
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.
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.