Almost 1,000 rice farmers marched to graduate from the Farmers’ Field School in the province of Occidental Mindoro last October 8, 2014. Graduates came from the municipalities of San Jose, Magsaysay, Sta. Cruz, Sablayan, and Rizal. Atty. Cipriano Santiago, Regional Executive Director, gave the confirmation to the graduates and patiently handed the certificates (all 1,000 of them) to the proud graduates. Also present to witness the event were Cong. Josephine R. Sato, Provincial Agriculturist Carmelita Villanada, San Jose Mun. Mayor Romulo Festin, and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Armed with proper knowledge, farmer-graduates are expected to lead their fellow farmers to the right technology and practices in rice farming. Right after their graduation, they were treated to a night of revelry for completing the season-long course and were given the chance to see and experience various farm machineries as they participated in the first-ever MIMAROPA Makina-Saka Roadshow.

RED Santiago; Engr. Don Julian, Luzon B Cluster Director; Gerardo Laredo, APCO for Occidental Mindoro, Provincial Councilor Ulysses Javier; Municipal Agriculturists Fe Mina, Lina De Leon, Jessie Celestino, of Magsaysay, Sablayan and Rizal respectively, all took part in opening the event during the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the MIMAROPA Makina-Saka Roadshow. San Jose Municipal Agriculturist Lourdes Peroy along with their technicians also participated in the activity.

Seven (7) agricultural machinery manufacturers and distributors displayed their newest farm machines that included farm tractors, rice transplan-ters, reapers, rice combine harvesters, multi-pass rice mills and other up-to-date pre-production up to post-production technologies. The event also featured lecture sessions headed by the Regional Agricultural Engineering Division, PHilMech, PhilRice, and Regional Rice Program staff. The lectures and demo served as venue for farmers to get acquain-ted with the latest technologies in further enhancing farm productivity and augmenting farmers’ incomes. Community-Based Mushroom Production Project (CBMPP) was also showcased by the team from ORMAES headed by Ms. Nanette Rosales. The CBMPP is one of the major activities being conducted by the Rice Program in support to the Food Staples Sufficiency Program specifically the Palayamanan project in lowland farms.

The Regional Rice Program stated objectives of the roadshow: to serve as rare opportunity for our farmers to personally see and discern the evolution of farming systems in the country especially the modern farm machines that they can use in haste-ning their activities; and to gather more support from farmers in accelerating the mechanization of the country’s farms so the Philippines can attain food self-sufficiency particularly on rice.

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