Over 300 farmers gained knowledge on balanced fertilization, use of biological controls and good agricultural practices during the recently concluded Corn caravan in Sindangan (ZDN); Ramon Magsaysay (ZDS) and Siay (ZSP).
Dubbed as the Corn Roadshow, the activity targeted corn producing municipalities aimed at intensifying the information dissemination on the different corn services offered by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in all of Zamboanga Peninsula.
DA OIC-Assistant Director Maria Melba B. Wee said that “Through proper dissemination of the upgraded technologies in (corn) farming we can help increase the production of our farmers; together with other assistance the DA offers.” Wee said.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority data, Zamboanga Peninsula’s corn production for white and corn in 2016 marked an increment of 17.61% from its previous year. From 220, 180 metric tons in 2015, it rises to 258,951 metric tons. Zamboanga del Sur contributed 164,625 metric tons, a 13.85% rise on their 2015 production of 144,596 metric tons; Zamboanga del Norte contributed 56,860 metric tons, a 33.10% rise on their 2015 production of 42,719 metric tons; and Zamboanga Sibugay contributed 23,388 metric tons, a 20.69% rise on their 2015 production of 19,378 metric tons.
Lecturers were experts in their own field. Ms Maria Lina Repollo from the Soils Laboratory expounded the importance of the Soil Analysis and how it helps the farmers regulate their fertilizer applications. Ms Merlinda Garnica from the Research Division particularly in Bio-N Laboratory explained how this Bio-N, a natural supplement would help the plant’s nitrogen requirement.
An Entomologist in one of the research stations of DA, the Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC), Mrs. Isidra Patulada demonstrated the proper use of the Trichogramma evanescense cards and explained how this biological control works against the eggs of the corn borer. Also, Aflatoxin Analyst Mercita G. Herbano clarified the significance of sanitation in all agricultural practices especially drying and storage and how these activities contribute to Aflatoxin contamination on corn and other crops.
Regional Corn Commodity Program Coordinator, Engr. Tessie F. Montano laid the various corn services that the farmers could avail to help them make their farming fast and easy. “We have postharvest facilities but we give it through associations this time, no more LGUs. Provided you are duly registered association,” said Montano.
For unified information broadcasting a press conference was also conducted along with the Roadshow schedules. On April 4 in Pagadian City and April 6 in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay which was attended by a total of 40 media practitioners.
Furthermore, OIC-ARD Wee said, “ this Roadshow activity will be a yearly activity of DA to ensure that every municipality would know what the Corn Commodity program has to offer to our corn farmers. Inch by inch we will make sure that this information will be brought and imparted to every corn farmer.”she said.
Last year, the same activity was also conducted in the municipality of San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur and Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte. (Marnette Daguro/DA9)