CATANDUANES, July 26, 2021 – Two women-led farmers’ associations under the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program are set to participate in the season-long Farmer’s Field School (FFS) on Vegetable Production Technology to enhance crop production practices.
The participants of the 16-week activity are 60 all-women beneficiaries engaged in high-value crops (HVC) production from San Roque Vegetable Association (SRVA) in San Roque, Bato, and San Miguel SAAD Vegetable Farmers Association (San Miguel SAADVFA) in San Miguel, Baras.
The school is made possible with the partnerships from the DA – Catanduanes Hilly Upland Development Station (CHUDS) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) in Catanduanes.
The FFS also referred to as “school without walls” aims to equip farmers with technologies and information towards project sustainability and management.
During the FFS launch, Bato Municipal Agriculturist Mr. Eduardo V. Taopo, Jr. and Baras Officer-in-Charge Municipal Agriculturist Mr. Noel O. Odoño showed full support to the activity, reiterating the department’s commitment to continuously assist in the conduct of the training. They emphasized the importance of the activity to the associations.
Each FA will be provided with vegetable seeds (eggplant, squash, tomatoes, ampalaya, and sili), 50 bags of organic fertilizer, 4 bags of complete fertilizer, 4 pieces (pc) of vegetable twine, 18pc of seedling tray, a roll of plastic mulch, 8 kilograms of tie wire, and various office supplies.
Four approaches will be used throughout the training: Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) which tackles the adoption of good management principles to produce crops safe for human consumption; Climate-Smart Agriculture, discussing actions needed to increase agricultural productivity despite the changing climate; Organic Agriculture, the adoption of organic-based agriculture and pesticide-free practices; and cultural practices or the farmer’s method, or common practices of the farmers.
Based on the results of the following approaches, the group will then decide which method works best for them and apply it in their SAAD communal garden.
The activity was led by FFS trainers Mr. John Carlo C. Dasigan from DA-CHUDS and Ms. Julie Ann Q. Lopez from OPAg, who both graduated with top honors during the Season Long Training of Trainers (TOT) on Vegetable Production Technology with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and National Certificate (NC) III conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) held at Pili, Camarines Sur on November 2018.
The trainers encouraged the farmers to actively participate, may it be theoretical or hands-on application during the whole duration of the FFS.
Highlighting a unique perception of women regarding their local ecology, the FFS aims to produce trained farmers to boost vegetable production in their gardens.
Site layout and land preparation, which involves clearing of the area and creation of the garden plots, started on June 25 in the chosen sites of the FAs meeting the minimum plot area requirement and adjacent water sources. Both FAs have approximately 400 square meters of the land area allotted for the demonstration.
“Naugma kami ta napili kami na maging parte ning FFS ta isi mi po na dakul kaming manunud-an na paagi kung papan-o ang tamang pagtanom, papan-o mapapadakol ang tanom, asin magkaigwa ning produktibong gulayan. Dakula ang kaugmahan mi ta ini bihira sanang oportunidad; kaya gapa-mabalos kami sa DA – SAAD, sa mga matutulo samo, pati sa suporta ng LGU. Tan-a dagos-dagos sana ang pag-asenso ning samuyang gulayan,” shared by SRVA president Luz C. Tardaguila.[We are happy that we were chosen to be part of the FFS because we will learn a lot of techniques on how to properly grow crops, how to grow more of our crops, and we will have a productive vegetable garden. We are grateful for this rare opportunity; hence, we are thankful to DA – SAAD, to our trainers, and to the support of the LGU. All of us are hopeful for the continued success of our vegetable gardens.]
The FFS will also cover topics on cultural management which tackle proper site identification and preparation, seed selection, proper application and management of fertilizer and water, weed, pest and disease management, as well as harvest and postharvest handling. They will also be introduced to farm planning, vermiculture, concoctions, seed production, and simple bookkeeping.
At the end of the activity, all participants are expected to graduate from FFS with acquired skills in contemporary technologies and adaptation to circumstances challenging the agricultural sector. The season-long FFS training runs from June 24 to October 08, 2021. ###
Writer: Sarah Jane C. Taway, DA SAAD Catanduanes – Information Officer
Sources: PPMO Catanduanes
Photo Sources: Romy Judson G. Eusebio and John Carlo C. Dasigan