About 400 hundred received agricultural support from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) in its Outreach Program held last week in the municipalities of Pitogo, Lapuyan, and Kumalarang in Zamboanga del Sur province.

The three municipalities were selected to be part of the second leg of the HVCDP outreach program in the said province. “Out of the 26 municipalities and 1 city in Zamboanga del Sur, your place was one of the three which were chosen so that alone is already a big privilege”, reiterated Dr. Carlito Larubis, Agricultural Program Coordinator for ZDS, in each municipality visited.

Vegetable seeds such as okra, string beans, pepper, kangkong, upo, and coffee seedlings were distributed in the three municipalities. Most of which are crops that are easy to manage and marketable according to HVCDP Coordinator George Valiente, who briefed the participants on DA’s HVCDP that included its support to the production and training in cultivating high value crops, rendering of farm machineries and postharvest equipment and facilities to farmers, to include the support in the irrigation system of their farms.

Lectures on Soil sampling and analysis and Crop protection through pest control were also imparted to the farmers by the representatives from DA’s Regional Soils Laboratory (RSL) and Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC), respectively.

Ms. Annabel Go-Sindayen of RSL emphasized the importance of having the soils tested for proper crop plantation and fertilizer application. While RCPC’s Nova Jean Bomes and Juvie Mae Forro addressed the farmers’ pest problems by introducing natural combatants such as the Trichogramma species and other Biological Control Agents that fight against the pests that plague the crops’ health.

An open forum was hosted at the end of the presentations wherein questions from the farmers were directly responded by the concerned speakers.

Completing the participants during the program were the Municipal Agricultural Officers, the representatives from the local government units led by its Municipal Mayors and barangay officials, and the Regional Agricultural and Fisheries Council Chairman, Leonardo Caparida, who graced the program in Kumalarang. (DReyes/DA9)

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