DA beefs up partnership with farmers through ‘Usapang Palay’

THE Department of Agriculture in SoCCSKSarGen Region has been intensifying its massive dissemination of agricultural information and technology updates particularly in its AgriPinoy Rice Program.

Through its latest project ‘Usapang Palay’, which was recently conducted last Thursday and Friday during its two-day technical briefing and writeshop, DA 12 believes that holding a focus group discussion with the local farmers right at their area will give them the opportunity to confidently discuss the technologies and issues confronting rice productivity.

DA 12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan said, Usapang Palay is a sharing of rice information and technology updates between the DA, agricultural extension workers and the farmers.

“Main objective of the project is to enhance the interest and enthusiasm of the farmers to learn and appreciate the best farming practices in order to achieve high yield on rice production in their communities,” Dir. Datukan added.

It is also aimed at soliciting the concerns of farmers as well as their suggestions in advancing agricultural productivity.

This project, Dir. Datukan emphasized is part of the agency’s line of strategies in ensuring the attainment of its Food Staples Self-sufficiency Program (FSSP).

Besides DA 12 through its AgriPinoy Rice Program as the lead agency that will shoulder the project’s cost, representatives from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Seed Quality Control Services (NSQCS) and PhilRice also play significant roles in the project.

On Thursday, members of the Regional Management Team (RMT) have discussed the strategies as well as the schedule of the project implementation.

The following day, the RMT has oriented the municipal and provincial agriculturists on their responsibility for the project.

Ms. Soraida Bangon, RMT Team Leader, stressed that this project will only cover farmers who have not yet undergone any Farmers’ Field School or any relevant trainings given by the regional office.

Aside from this, Bangon added that farmers with rice yield below 3.8 metric tons per hectare will be the target of ‘Usapang Palay’.

With these qualifications, the project committee decided to jumpstart the project starting November to December 2012 in the four provinces of the region.

After the two-day technical briefing, the ‘Usapay Palay’ RMT has decided to utilize the local farmer technicians (LFTs), RSTC, Training on Trainors (TOTs) on Rice to organize a team in holding this project in their respective scope of operations.

At present, according to Ms. Marilyn Opolentisima, Senior Agriculturist of ATI, there are 96 LFTs in the region where 75 of them are already doing their duties.

The regional office will allocate 100.00 per farmer-participant which covers the transport cost of the personnel from the municipal and provincial local government units (MLGUs/PLGUs) to conduct the ‘Usapang Palay’.

‘Usapang Palay’ is set to formally begin next month.

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