CATANDUANES, April 21, 2022 – Sixty (60) rice farmers of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program underwent Training on Rice Production and Enterprise Development in Catanduanes. This aims to ensure the readiness and empowerment of the farmer-beneficiaries in the management of the Upland Rainfed Rice Production Project worth Php 321,000 provided by the DA-SAAD last November 2021.
The said training was simultaneously conducted for two associations. The first batch was conducted on March 23-24, 2022 at Rakdell Inn, Virac, Catanduanes. It was attended by 30 farmer-beneficiaries from the Rainfed Island’s Rice Grower Association (RIRGA) from the municipalities of Bagamanoc and San Miguel.
Meanwhile, the second training, conducted in March 24-25, was attended by 30 members of San Roque Palay Association (SAROPA) from the municipality of Bato, Catanduanes. The first day was held at San Roque Covered Court in Bato, Catanduanes while the second day was held in Rakdell Inn, Virac, Catanduanes.
The training was facilitated through the collaborative efforts of SAAD – Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO) and the SAAD – Provincial Program Management Support Office (PPMSO) Catanduanes.
Several personnel from the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 5 (DA-RFO 5) were invited to discuss various topics on rice production and enterprise development in the training sessions.
Mr. Anacleto Esplana, a Senior Science Research Specialist from the Central Bicol Experiment Station (DA-CBES), discussed Rice Production and Post-Harvest Technology; CBES Staff, Mr. Christopher Ampongan, presented the topic on Rice Pest Management; SAAD – RPMSO staff, Ms. Honey Leah Cantoria, reported about Basic Food Hygiene and Enterprise Development, Product Labelling, and Costing and Food Processing; and Multi Agri-forest and Community Development Cooperative (MAF-COOP) Marketing Manager, Ms. Perlyn A. Onquit, discussed Organizational Development and Financial Literacy.
Mr. Ricardo Vallespin, RIRGA member from Barangay Suchan, shared his thoughts after the training. As a first-time attendee, he said that the training was very enlightening as it taught him and his fellow RIRGA members new ways in managing their farm lands such as land preparation and proper preparation of seedbeds and seed sowing. After the training, he is now more confident in cultivating their ricelands, because from his words, he is no longer just a farmer but a learned farmer.
Further, SAROPA president, Mr. Abner Torzar realized the importance of having knowledge in rice farming. According to him, farming is a mind and body coordination and not entirely a physical activity. Likewise, he highlighted that it’s very important that they learn about pest and disease management to improve their conventional practices. He expressed his gratitude to SAAD for their unwavering support – especially during times of crisis.
Tilling a total land area of 23 hectares (ha) for RIRGA, and 15.1ha for SAROPA, both associations picked up new techniques and additional knowledge in managing their respective farm lands. Apart from rice farming, their additional income comes from abaca production, which they cultivate in a separate land area while others are into pakyawan or bulk selling of abaca.
In the program’s 5th year of implementation, the farmers continuously do their part in sustaining the projects entrusted to their care. To do so, extension services are continuously provided to the groups by SAAD.
In the coming months, the association will be harvesting their palay and will manage and market them through the newly-gained practices from the training.
Writer/Source: Jovinel M. Gianan- SAAD PPMSO Information Officer
Photo Source: Jovinel M. Gianan- SAAD PPMSO Information Officer