A first class municipality with around 60,000 people, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya is a premier town which serves as the commercial center in the province. Despite this, the local government unit (LGU) continues to improve its agricultural productivity, particularly its corn industry.
With commitment to contribute to the country’s overall development, Solano shapes its agricultural activities to support poverty alleviation, social equity, food security, and sustainable growth through rational use of resources, protection from unfair competition, and people empowerment.
Solano has around 400 hectares of land devoted to white and yellow corn production in barangays Bangar, Dadap, Curifang, Bagahabag, and Communal. With the vision to become a self-reliant and self-sufficient corn-producing community, the LGU supports its corn farmers to become organized and dynamic agripreneurs equipped with modern and efficient production technologies. Likewise, the municipal government and the Solano Corn Cluster are working together to produce high-quality corn grains and develop the town’s corn-based enterprise.
Low capital, high cost of labor and inputs, insufficient irrigation facilities, and pest and diseases have hindered corn farmers in the past to attain high volume in production and income. However, proper planning and programming, local government support, and commitment to the goals of its Farm Cluster Development Plan for 2016-2020 have transformed Solano Corn Cluster to become a huge force in the local industry. The plan, institutionalized by the cluster, serves as a blueprint for its programs on human resource development; production, post-production and infrastructure development; entrepreneur development; organization and management; as well as research and development.
To develop the skills, knowledge, and attitude of agricultural technicians and corn producers in Solano, seminars and a series of training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), corn production and post-production technologies, and integrated pest management were held. Production support in the form of seeds, fertilizers and natural pest control, as well as post-harvest machinery, were provided to reduce the farmers’ production costs and losses. Irrigation systems, multi-purpose drying pavement, and farm-to-market roads were, likewise, established to accommodate the needs of the stakeholders.
Through these collaborative efforts, the municipality won the National Quality Corn Achievers Awards in 2018, which noted its compliance with the Philippine National Standards on quality and safety of corn grains. For the last three years, its over 620 corn farmers have achieved an average yield of 5.33 metric tons per hectare, an average yield increment of 5.57 percent, and an average production volume increment of 14.77 percent. Currently, the municipality has over 30 farms practicing GAP.
With the strong support and cooperation among the local government and its stakeholders, Solano continues its progress in its drive for better corn productivity. (with reports from Kristine Marie Bernadette Montes)