Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

DA invests P52M in rice-veggie crop system in Lupao, Nueva Ecija

Author: DA Communications Group | 24 September 2020

Highlighting its continuing partnership with local government units (LGUs), the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is implementing a pioneering rice-vegetable production and marketing project in Lupao, Nueva Ecija.

Pleased with the initial results of the project, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has committed more agri-related initiatives worth P51.6 million (M), during the ceremonial harvest of the “Sa Palay at Gulay – May Ani, Hanapbuhay, Oportunidad, at Nutrisyon (PAG-AHON)” project on September 23, 2020, in Lupao, which is near the main headquarters of DA-PhilRice in Munoz.

“I would like to see the outputs of your (PhilRice) research being used by the farming communities. Baliw na baliw ako makakita ng mga extension ng technologies na nagawa na ninyo doon sa kanayunan,” Secretary Dar during a simple program ay Lupao municipal hall, attended by Mayor Alex Rommel Romano, PhilRice Executive Director John de Leon, General Manager of East-West Seed Co. Henk Hermans, Purchasing Manager of Dizon Farms Joseph Viernesto, Lupao Vegetable Growers Association President Henry Ramos, and Nueva Ecija Provincial Agriculturist Bernardo Valdez.

Using the Lupao as a benchmark, Secretary Dar has directed the DA Regional Field Office (RFO) in Central Luzon and attached agencies to concretize their respective partnerships with LGUs under the ‘adopt-a-town’ initiative under the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program.

This year, the DA through Regional Field Office 3 (RFO) has distributed inbred and hybrid rice seeds, amounting to P13.5M, and fertilizers, worth P10M to Lupao farmers. It also constructed small water impounding project (SWIP) in the municipality, worth P10M.

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center also invested about P8M in Lupao for the distribution of 25 dairy carabaos and the implementation of large-scale silage production.

The DA-Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), on the other hand, committed P5-M worth of farm machinery.

For the PAG-AHON project, also called the Revitalized Gulayan sa Barangay, the DA-PhilRice with a budget of P5.1M has partnered with the Lupao Municipal LGU, Lupao Vegetable Growers Association (LVGA), East West Seed Company, and Dizon Farms.

Dahil po sa project na ito, naiangat po yung kalidad ng aming produkto at ang LVGA ay nagkaroon ng hanapbuhay kahit sa panahon ng pandemic. Kami po ay nagpapasalamat at naadopt namin sa practice ’yong technology na tinuro ninyo,” LVGA President Henry Ramos said.

The PAG-AHON project started in May 2020, following the instruction of Secretary Dar for DA offices to adopt a town and partner with agencies/companies/associations. The directive aims to showcase food production technologies, enhance household food security, and promote massive vegetable gardening as part of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant umbrella program.

The PAG-AHON project team trained 50 farmers, 100 home gardeners, and three farmer-cooperators on vegetable production, anchored on the Good Agricultural Practices, home gardening, and rice-vegetable technologies. The project covered 22 Lupao barangays, planting a total of 6.25 hectares to assorted vegetables.

Starting the third week of September, Lupao farmers were already reaping their harvest. The project facilitated six deliveries and supplied 5.9 tons of vegetables to Dizon Farms, which serves as the direct market link of LVGA.

Secretary Dar approved the request of LVGA President Ramos to extend the project until May 2022 and challenged the association to make it sustainable and level up into processing with the help of the project partners.

“That’s the direction I’m giving PhilRice and I hope East-West will also follow through helping PhilRice, and the same with Dizon Farms. I hope they continue to be the link towards the market,” the Secretary said.

Dizon Farms Purchasing Manager Joseph Viernesto committed to continue partnering with Lupao farmers as the company already invested in a reefer van and has trained farmers on postharvest handling practices to improve the quality of their products.

DA Ambassador for Food Security and actor-singer James Reid joined Secretary Dar and the DA team during the harvest festival, saying that it was “inspiring and wonderful experiences for him.” He committed to continue using his voice to support “the farmers and fisherfolk who are truly the backbone of the economy.”

In addition to Lupao as a technology demonstration site for PhilRice, secretary Dar also instructed PhilMech and PCC to adopt Muñoz and San Jose City, in Nueva Ecija, respectively, to showcase their technologies as well. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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