December may not be a popular month for graduation, but for the farmers in Northeastern Luzon, this month is more special with the completion of their training facilitated by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in San Mateo, Isabela.
About 1,000 farmers had graduated from Palaycheck Field School in separate ceremonies, Dec. 8-9, after finishing two seasons of learning the PalayCheck principles and applying them on their field. Rice farmers were from Isabela, Quirino, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Ifugao.
PalayCheck is an integrated crop management system developed by PhilRice with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and other local partners to help farmers increase their yield.
Integrated in the Institute’s Developing and Packaging of Location-Specific Rice Technologies Development for Irrigated, Rainfed, and Upland Areas program, PalayCheck features eight recommendations covering practices from selecting seeds to harvesting.
With the country’s goal of reducing rice import and achieving rice self-sufficiency in 2013, Dr. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang, PhilRice’s deputy executive director for development, said PalayCheck is being used as a platform in improving rice productivity.
In his messages during the ceremonies, Quilang emphasized factors that would help provide enough rice for the Filipinos.
“There are ways to make our country self-sufficient. These include increasing rice production to 2 million tons a year and for us to reduce wastage in [all rice forms – palay (paddy rice), bigas (milled rice), kanin (cooked rice)]” he said.
Meanwhile, Fidela P. Bongat, branch manager PhilRice-Isabela, encouraged graduates to impart the PalayCheck recommendations to their fellow farmers.
“Learning doesn’t end in graduation. I hope that you will disseminate what you have learned here as [an extra mile in furthering rice productivity in the country], “she said.
The PalayCheck Field School was co-implemented with the municipality of San Mateo headed by Mayor Crispina R. Agcaoili, who noted the good partnership of PhilRice and the local government unit in spearheading the project.(PhilRICE)