The 37.5 has. field demo site was officially opened through a ribbon-cutting ceremony. ### Photo by Paulo Emmanuel Ajose, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA
Oriental Mindoro has always been in the top 20 rice-producing provinces in the country, while the City of Calapan, its capital town, has been recognized as among the outstanding cities in the Rice Achievers Awards this 2018 because of its significant contribution to the country’s rice production.
As such, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Rice Productivity Advocacy, Inc. (Rice Board) chose the province, particularly Calapan City, to conduct this season’s 9th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF).
The NRTF is a semi-annual event organized by Rice Board in partnership with the DA National Rice Program, DA Regional Field Office and Local Government Units (PLGU and C/MLGU). It is a 3-day forum that highlights the use of hybrid rice and other innovations in rice production.
This season’s NRTF has a total of 37.2-hectare demo sites located in Barangay Malad that is managed by the shared efforts of 11 farmer-cooperators and private seed companies namely Seedworks, Corteva, Syngenta, PRASAD, Longping, Bayer, and SL AgriTech. The DA-MIMAROPA, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and Philippine Sino Center for Agricultural Technology also established a demo farm in the area.
The event kicked off last August 8 where around 300 participants saw the sturdy and green rice plant at the demo site that was on the vegetative phase that time.
This October 2-4, the culminating activity happened. There was a field tour for all the participants where they saw the result of the demo farm which is currently exhibiting excellent performance.
The plenary session was held in the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology gymnasium where attendees were able to listen to different lectures and also engage in discussions and games. Photo by Michael John Galivo.
“Ang isa sa mga goal nito ay to transfer the technology to the farmers…farmers can have an interaction with the technology providers and ask questions about the technology that we prepared for them,” Recher Ondap, President of Rice Board explained.
While the plenary session followed at the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology- Calapan City campus where DA gave an update regarding its programs. Attendees also had the chance to be part of a forum with DA, LGU, Rice Board Officials and private seed companies’ representatives.
During the opening day, DA heads, Rice Board Officials, and LGU officials did not only tackle the importance of the forum but also took the opportunity to raise the current issue in the agriculture industry such as the impact of the Rice Tarrification and Import Liberalization Law.
Mayor Arnan Panaligan of Calapan City shared his side about the issue and suggested some possible solutions that could help lessen the impact of the import liberalization. He also shared his City’s program for their farmers which is the AKAP or Angat Kabuhayan sa Agrikultura Program that subsidizes their farmers’ needs from farm inputs to post-harvest equipment and machinery.
“Kami ay medium sized city lamang pero we subsidized our farmers through our flagship program which is AKAP…may subsidiya po kami sa binhi--- certified, hybrid; sa mechanization nakakpagbigay na kami ng tractors, transplanter, harvester, etc…ang iba po doon ay galing sa DA at ang ibang pondo ay galing sa aming IRA. We prioritize (agriculture) bago lagyan ng pondo ang ibang proyekto, (we) secure muna ang pambili ng binhi, traktora, fertilizer, communal irrigation, etc. Kung ang ibang city ay may may Anti-Drug Campaign, kami ang gusto namin i-showcase ay itong AKAP dahil ito’y (agrikultura) ay nakakalimutan na,” he shared.
While Assistant Secretary Andrew Villacorta of DA’s Agribusiness lauded Mayor Panaligan’s programs and suggestions during his message.
“Sana po ay maging congressman kayo kahit sa isang partylist upang kumatawan sa mga magsasaka. Sapagkat naniniwala po ako na itong mga ideas niyo ay talaga namang makakatulong sa ating mga magsasaka,” ASec. Villacorta expressed.
Aside from the plenary session and field showcase, participants also enjoyed and learned more through the different exhibits from different seed companies and other stakeholders at the school’s stadium.
As much as 3,000 participants composed of farmers from different regions, other rice industry stakeholders, private seed companies, and students attended the 3-day event.
“The event will not only assist in terms of production but also with technology that will give a better livelihood that is fitted to our farmers’ farming system,” explained Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Gerundio of DA-MIMAROPA.
While Dr. Frisco Malabanam, Senior Consultant for Rice Program said that this forum is akin to Sec. William Dar 8 new paradigms in agriculture which are strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors.
“Hindi naman namin sinasabi na hybrid rice ang solusyon, isa lang ito sa major production input na makakatulong sa pag-improve ng produksiyon at kita ng ating magsasaka. Ang pagtitipong din na ito ay hina-highlight ang strong partnership ng DA, ng mag magsasaka at private units,” he said.
Farmers from different provinces, of MIMAROPA as well as from other regions had an up-close view of the different hybrid rice varieties planted in the 37.2 hectares demo site in Bgy. Malad. Photo by Paulo Emmanuel Ajose
DA and Rice Board hopes that through this gathering, the country’s rice industry will be more competitive to achieve rice security and make our farmers prosperous through new technology and collaborative effort with other rice industry stakeholders.