Farmers can now benefit from a wide selection of services from the government’s continuing investments in agriculture research, development, and extension (RD&E) as the Department of Agriculture (DA) ushered them to the newly built farmer’s training hall in Quezon Province.
No less than Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala graced the occasion were farmers were educated about free access to technologies, technical assistance, and other services provided by the government through the Quezon Agricultural Experiment Station (QAES) located in Lagalag, Tiaong, Quezon. QAES is one of the research outreach stations (ROS) of the Southern Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC) under DA Region 4A.
The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the R&D arm of DA, in partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), DA Region 4A, and QAES organized the event where the BAR-funded Farmer’s Training Hall, Embryo Culture Laboratory, and several RD&E projects of various proponents were officially presented to farmers.
The training hall provides farmers with a venue to build the capacity of farmers in the appropriate production, management, and processing technologies of various commodities. Some of the technologies and products from agriculture R&D which were showcased during the event included those on embryo cultured makapuno, adlai (rice-like crop), cacao, oregano, banana, native chicken, Indian mango, sapinit (wild berry), medicinal plants, organic fertilizer, and edible landscaping.
In his message, Secretary Alcala shared his vision for the next three years for all DA-ROS in the country such as QAES to be income generating so that it could augment the support for its continuous operations to serve the needs of farmers.
He also stated his expectation for the PCA to deliver on its promise to cut the cost of makapuno seedlings in half and his desire to further increase the budget allocation for farm-to-market roads. The Secretary also stated that investments in agriculture R&D is further leveled up with the continuous increase in its budget.
While farmers and rural women comprised majority of the visitors during the event, it was also well-attended by local government leaders including Gov. David Suarez, Rep. Irvin Alcala, and the municipal mayors of Sariaya, Dolores, Candelaria, San Antonio, and Calauag.
Meanwhile, DA officials present in the event who also gave their respective messages were Dir. Nicomedes Eleazar, BAR; Dir. Abelardo Bragas, DA Region 4A; Dir. Euclides Forbes, PCA; Exec. Dir. Manuel Jarmin, Livestock Development Council (LDC); Dir. Efren Nuestro, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI); and Exec. Dir. Noel Juliano, National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC).
In his message, PCA Director Forbes encouraged farmers to explore opportunities beyond copra such that of embryo cultured makapuno which has high market potential. He said that as of the moment, only one private company is making investments on this locally.
Congressman Alcala also lauded BAR’s support to agriculture and fisheries RD&E through various programs such as the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR). He emphasized that while support for agriculture pours in Quezon, the intention is to extend its impact to neighbor provinces particularly the CALABARZON area.
On the other hand, LDC Director Jarmin highlighted some of the top reasons why QAES was chosen as the center of agriculture R&D and extension in the province such as its proximity to major markets, competency of its scientists and researchers, and availability of materials and facilities to conduct agricultural activities.
BAI Director Nuestro meanwhile updated the audience about the current initiatives of the DA under Secretary Alcala’s leadership to expand the genetic improvement of livestock as well as the production and marketing of Peking duck and Brahman cattle with ready markets in Malaysia and Singapore.
Governor Suarez also lauded DA as one of the most outstanding departments in delivering services to the people. He also commended the DAR-DA-DPWH convergence initiative which was launched in Quezon Province as well as the development of the Eastern Seaport of the Philippines including the establishment of the state-of-the-art fishport in Quezon. (Miko Jazmine J. Mojica/DA-BAR)