(From L-R) Dr. Antonio Gerundio, Special Technical Adviser of ASEC for Operations; Engr. Roger Navarro, Director of Philmaize; Engr. Elmer Ferry, OIC-RTD for Operations; Dr. Candido Damo, Cassava Coordinator and Specialist; Engr. Ma. Christine Inting, Regional Corn and Cassava Coordinator and Dir. Milo Delos Reyes, National Corn Consultant.
After declaring Occidental Mindoro as a Hall of Famer in the National Corn Quality Achievers’ Awards in the Provincial Category, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region MiMaRoPa Corn Team is shaping the Province of Palawan as the next province to join the said Corn Quality Search.
Last October 13, the Southern Palawan conducted a Provincial Corn and Cassava Congress in Center Point, Municipal Building Compound, Narra, Palawan wherein the different municipalities like Narra, Aborlan, Rizal, Sofronio Espaňola, Bataraza, Brooke’s Point and Quezon attended the congress. One hundred and fifty (150) farmers along with their municipal agriculturists joined and participated in the event.
Engr. Elmer Ferry, OIC-RTD for Operations, encouraged the farmers to get ready for the ASEAN Integration. He mentioned that the regional office is willing to provide the needs of the farmer just to prepare them and shape them up for the ASEAN Integration. Engr. Ferry also challenged the participants not only to focus on the quantity but also on the quality of corn that they are producing.
Engr. Elmer Ferry asked the participants who wants to be successful in life and everybody raised their hands.
Another message was given by Dir. Milo Delos Reyes, the National Corn Consultant of DA and the OIC-Director of CALABARZON wherein he encouraged the farmers by saying, “Walang imposible lalo kung tayo ay maniniwala lamang na makakaya natin ang lahat ng bagay. Magkaroon tayo ng iisang hangarin na magtagumpay. Sa huli sabay sabay nating pitasin ang tagumpay.” With his words, the farmers were uplifted and now looking into a certain goal, which is to be successful.
Afterwards, Dr. Antonio Gerundio, Special Technical Adviser of ASEC for Operations, discussed the status of the Corn Industry in the Philippines and even in the other countries. He also presented with graphs and percentage for the farmers to fully understand and to have clearer vision of the Corn’s status. He also discussed the different varieties of corn and the different products that were made from corn.
Then, updates on cassava production and its effect in the Philippine Industry was discussed by Dr. Candido Damo, cassava coordinator and specialist. Dr. Damo also explained the various uses of cassava for feeds, fuel, food and other industrial uses. He also encouraged the farmers to increase their cassava production for the upcoming Cassava Cluster Search.
Hon. Lucena Demala, Mayor of Narra, Palawan, on her message she acknowledged the efforts of the department in helping the farmers and providing for their needs. Mayor Demaala also appreciated the role of the program in the farmers’ lives. “Ang Corn Congress na ito ay magiging hakbang upang maging matagumpay ang pagmamaisan sa Southern Palawan.” Mayor stated.
Participants listened as Hon. Lucena Demaala, Mayor of Narra, Palawan stated her appreciation for the activity.
Engr. Roger Navarro, Director of PhilMaize, discussed about Corn Clustering and the Good Agricultural Practices. He challenged the farmers to let their farms be GAP Certified as he said, “Kailangan nating gawin at sundin ang Good Agricultural Practices para maging masagana ang ating ani.”
Engr. Ma. Christine Inting, Regional Corn Coordinator, enumerated the different interventions that can be provided by the Department to the Corn and Cassava Farmers. She kept reminding the farmers that “Ang inyong ikasasama ay sa inyo magmumula at ang inyong ikagagaling ay sa inyo manggaling.”
While Mr. Teddy Estrada, a corn famer in Narra, Palawan shared his successful story on how he became a successful corn farmer. He mentioned how he started with a loan assistance and a small lot. Now, Mr. Estrada is earning a lot with his sweet corns that he is producing for food and his other source of income is by producing feeds made by corn. He dared the farmers to take the risks and do not lose hope in planting corn. “Sa pagtatanim ko ng sweet corn mas umunlad ang buhay ko, suandin lang ang tamang procedure. Masasabi ko na may pera talaga sa mais.” Mr. Estrada said.
Mr. Froilan Ilagan, an account officer of the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), provided the different credit financing under LBP. He enumerated the different kinds of loan that different types of farmer can avail. Mr. Ilagan mentioned and discussed loans for a farmers’ association and even for a small business farmer. The farmers that participated in the congress have the chance to ask questions regarding the loan that was answered by Mr. Ilagan right away.
Lastly, Mr. Elgie Guiuo of Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative shared how their company started from a small cooperative that was loaning in LBP for the needs of their members and he also shared how successful they are right now wherein they can provide loans and assistance like tuition fee and medical assistance to their members that are in need. Mr. Guiuo wanted to inspire the farmers to hope high and not let the struggles stop them in being successful in life.
The third group getting ready to make their polvoron made from cassava flour.
The day after, the corn team conducted a cooking demo on cassava wherein 50 participants from different sectors in Narra, Palawan partaken. Engr. Ma. Christine Inting lead and assisted the demo wherein she along with the participants cooked different recipes from Cassava. The participants were divided into three (3) groups that cooked different dishes out of cassava flour and cassava grates. The three groups made Pichi-Pichi using the grated cassava, Cassava Jolly Roll made of cassava grates and Polvoron out of Cassava Flour. The team also brought Cassav Chippy that was made out of Cassava grates that they fried for the participants to taste.
After the cooking sessions, everyone was invited to taste the dishes made out of Cassava and after that some of the participants provided their feedback with regards to the cooking demo. Sis. Joyce Salvaňa of Mary, Mother of the Word Nuns mentioned that it is a great opportunity to attend this kind of activity. She mentioned that it is an additional knowledge for her and their organization so that they can cook these recipes in their different outreach program.
The participants trying all the available dishes made of cassava: Pichi-Pichi, Jolly Roll, Polvoron and Cassava Chippy.
At the end of the day, the participants were all grateful for the new recipes that they have discovered that could be another source of income for them as well. The participants were encouraged to plant more cassava because now they know the other uses and products that they can get from cassava.