SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan—In support to the government's thrust for rice sufficiency in the country, farmers and farmer technicians graduated from the recently held Training Course on the Production of High-quality Inbred Rice Seeds and Farm Mechanization.
The training capacitated the farmers to become resource persons for agri-fishery advisory services and for their farms to be used for technical briefing and training for other farmers. This is in coordination with the Department of Agriculture's (DA) Seed Exchange Program which aims to fast track the dissemination of information on the availability and use of quality rice seeds.
Magsasaka Siyentista, local farmer technicians, and farmer-leaders composed the 31 graduates of the two-week training. They tackled modules on PalayCheck system, seed quality, hands-on farm demonstrations, and how to bring these kinds of information to other farmers.
"This training used unique strategies in providing us knowledge on farm mechanization and high-quality rice seed production. Strategies like this will be our stepping stone in sharing our knowledge and experiences to other farmers so that they, too, can replicate this," said Carlito Aquino, Magsasaka Siyentista from Camarines Sur.
Representatives from the proponents of the training which include the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, Agricultural Training Institute, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty and Governance (Villar SIPAG), and the DA took part in the graduation ceremony.
Also present was the Senate Chairperson on Agriculture and Food Senator Cynthia Villar who is also the Managing Director of Villar SIPAG. Villar shared in her keynote message the need to alleviate poverty among our farmers for us to achieve sustainable food production and to level with neighboring countries.
"We need to uplift the lives of our farmers and fishers as they are the ones who bring food to our plate. The promotion and use of high-quality inbred rice and farm mechanization will be key in reducing production cost and increasing the yield and income of our farmers. This is part of our efforts in making our products competitive come trade liberalization," Villar explained.
DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Andrew Villacorta, who was also present in the event, encouraged the participants to do more in improving their own production and helping other farmers.
"We want to increase the utilization rate of high-quality rice seeds from 50 percent of farmers to 80 to 85 percent in 2022 through the Seed Exchange Program. This will be achieved if our farmers are aware of the benefits of using high-quality rice seeds and where they can access these. We hope that this training will be the first of many that will allow us to achieve this goal," Villacorta said.
In the last day before their graduation, the participants presented the action plans they prepared which contained strategies in reaching out to other farmers and improving the agricultural production in their own communities.
The graduation ceremony of the Training Course on the Production of High-quality Inbred Rice Seeds and Farm Mechanization was conducted last July 31 at the Villar SIPAG Farm School in this city.