Boosting Partnership in the New Normal: ATI-CAR and BPI-NSQCS Tandem for RCEF Seed Growers’ Training

TABUK CITY, KALINGA. Underscoring the importance of quality seeds towards higher rice productivity, rice seed growers in Kalinga went through an Enhancement Course on Inbred Rice Seed Production. The course, which was implemented on September 21-24, 2020, is one of the activities under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Extension Component. After four days of intensive classroom discussions and field practice, 20 seed growers successfully received their training certificate at the TAMPCO Inn and Training Center at Tabuk City, Kalinga.

The various COVID-19 related restrictions on travel and mass gathering became a challenge during the conduct of the activity. Thus, in an effort to push through with the training, the Agricultural Training Institute-CAR (ATI-CAR) tapped the Bureau of Plant Industry- National Seed Quality Control Services (BPI-NSQCS) as co-implementer for the training. The BPI-NSQCS, through its satellite office in Tabuk City, then facilitated the activity in close coordination with the ATI-CAR. Moreover, the training was adjusted so that all participants and majority of the speakers invited are from Kalinga who are also presently residing in the province. Hence, this limited the crossing of provincial borders among the participants and the training management team in compliance to prevailing health protocols.

During the training’s closing program ATI-CAR RCEF Focal Person Randy Soriano stressed the importance of the activity. He remarked, “despite this pandemic, we have to push through with our interventions. This is because whatever crisis that we are going through, food production has to remain unhampered.” He furthered that improved knowledge and skills on inbred rice production will help ensure high quality seeds for every rice farmer. Accordingly, the promotion and use of this are key interventions in improving productivity and profitability.

In response, Edwin Tubban, one of the participants, shared “I appreciated very much our hands-on in the field. Thank you for having this activity for us.” Following through, Kalinga Provincial Seed Coordinator Delia Gonzalo then challenged the participants to really apply the lessons gained from the training. “I hope that the new technologies we learned will transpire in the actual field,” she said.

Apart from lecture-discussions, the training immersed the participants into simultaneous practical exercises such as varietal and physical purity test, germination test, moisture content determination, seed sampling and tagging, and field inspection and roguing. Meanwhile, resource persons and facilitators of the program included Jena De Guzman and Crescinti Agluya of the BPI-NSQCS Tabuk City Satellite Office; Fidel Ramos and Andres Dela Cruz Jr. of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); Delia Gonzalo, Veronica Mora, Roselda Dumayag, and Brent Martinez of PLGU-Kalinga; and retired Seed Inspector Remy Baliyao. The training forms part of the RCEF RESP Project 1: Design and Delivery of Training Programs which is generally aimed at enhancing the technical capabilities of seed growers in the RCEF covered provinces in CAR. (DAEsteban)