Engaging Ilocos farmers as agri-entrepreneurs amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union, Jan. 10 (PIA) - - Farmers in the Ilocos region were engaged as agri-entrepreneurs amid the COVID-19 pandemic through the Innovative Family Enterprise Development (IFED) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 1.

 

The IFED is the flagship project of DA Region 1 to ensure food security in the Ilocos region at the height of the COVID–19 pandemic in the country.

 

Initially, the DA Region 1 re-aligned last year a P10 million budget from its Research and Development (R&D) fund for the implementation of the project: “Re-focusing R&D Actions towards Food Security” through the enhanced IFED.

 

Dr. Jovita Datuin, the regional technical director of the Research and Regulation of the DA Region 1, said the enhanced IFED program aims primarily to transform subsistence farmers and livestock raisers into agri-entrepreneurs through improved free-range chicken and egg production, including vegetables as well as corn production.

 

The project will supplement the various strategies and interventions currently implemented by DA and its partner local government units and institutional agencies to ensure food sufficiency while the region is under community quarantine.

 

Project Coordinator Cathy Pastor said the initial implementation of the enhanced IFED involved six municipalities and three cities in Region 1 under the improved chicken and egg production component while the vegetable production will be conducted at the research and experiment stations of the DA Region 1 located in Dingras and Batac in Ilocos Norte; Bacnotan in La Union; and Sta. Barbara and Sual in Pangasinan.

 

These research stations have their own vegetable seed production project wherein the produced seeds will distribute for vegetable gardening projects in the region.

 

Out of the P10 million fund for the project, a total of P7 million will be use for the implementation of the IFED thru an improved poultry and egg raising project.

 

The remaining P3 million fund will be use for the implementation of the IFED on vegetables with a P2 million budget and P1 million for young corn and green corn production.

 

In consonance with the project guidelines, DA-RFO 1 will purchase day-old chicks to be raised for five months at the DA satellite stations.

 

“Once the chicken reached the hardening or growing period and ready to lay eggs, these will be distributed to the farmer-recipients,” said Pastor.

 

The R&D group will provide the project recipients with the technical know-how in poultry production. The group will conduct a technical briefing cum seminar on poultry raising specifically focused on housing, feeding management, health management practices.

 

In Ilocos Sur, thirty-three farmers from Lidlidda town received another component of IFED project with a total of 1,696,666.00, which is composed of P1,100,000.00 worth of cattle, P570,000.00 worth of goats, and P26,666.00 worth of vegetables.

 

Of the 33 farmer recipients, seven of them were recipients of goat comprising five does each for six farmers and two bucks for one farmer-recipient.

 

For cattle, 25 farmer-recipients received one heifer each while the other were recipient of bull. All 33 farmer-recipients will also receive various vegetable seeds for planting.

 

Pastor said that their office will utilize the Package of Technology (POT) on cattle and goat production to evaluate the effect of indigenous dewormer in improving the growth and health parameters of the livestock. The POT includes integrated nutrient management, pest management, and disease management.

 

Meanwhile, members of the Tambacan Riverside Fisherfolk and Farmers Self-Livelihood Association (TRFFSA) in Burgos, Pangasinan revealed positive impact on the enhanced IFED project in their community.

Farmers are gladly harvesting the ampalaya fruits in the vegetable garden of the  Tambacan Riverside Fisherfolk and Farmers Self-Livelihood Association (TRFFSA) in Burgos, Pangasinan. The vegetable garden was established through the enhanced Innovative Family Enterprise Development (IFED) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 1 amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy photo of DA Regional Office 1)

 

Four months after getting the vegetable seedlings through the DA RFO1’s research component of the IFED, the TRFFSA members of Tambacan village have shown–off their 2,000 sq.m. vegetable garden full of luscious, ready to harvest vegetables that command good price when sold in the market.

 

The community vegetable garden area was previously unutilized. Owned by a private individual in Burgos, the association members entered into an agreement with the owner that they shall lease the area for two consecutive seasons following the one-third sharing scheme.

 

With the inception of the IFED project as among the activities of the association, aside from tilapia production, members gladly accepted the project sometime in July 2020 when the orientation/briefing was conducted by the DA RFO1.

 

Aside from vegetable seedlings, also provided under the project were farm inputs such as organic fertilizer for basal during land preparation, complete fertilizer (14-14-14), and the foliar plant growth enhancer which form part of the research component of the project.

 

Using the OPV variety of vegetables, there were seven kinds of vegetables provided which include tomato, eggplant, ampalaya, okra, pole sitao, hot pepper and pechay.

 

In her testimony,  TRFFSA treasurer Minerva Odan said their IFED vegetable garden project had benefitted them so much as it provided them with additional income and a good source of fresh and naturally-grown vegetables for their own consumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Through the project, she said that they were also provided them an avenue to learn new vegetable production technologies that they discovered to be truly effective in bringing them better quality harvest and higher productivity.

 

She expressed her gratitude to DA Region 1 for bringing the IFED project in their barangay because it did not only empower the farmers in the community but also strengthened the unity among the association members bringing them closer as they engaged in learning by doing in their farm activities.

 

“Through the IFED project, the association' members felt a sense of pride in being able to raise the standards of farming in their area knowing that they have become better farmers through the project,” she said. (JCR/FGL, PIA-1 with reports from DA Region 1)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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