Corn farmers in the Cordillera will soon be growing their livestock feed and as hedgerows for their crops to prevent soil erosion.
As part of the proposed School on Air (SoA) on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) on Corn of the Department of Agriculture (DA), trichanthera gigatea or nacedero shall be included in the SoA’s advocacy segment as a hedge to prevent soil erosion.
“Trichanthera is primarily a forage plant or fodder for swine, rabbits and ruminants”, said Mr. Gerardo Banawa, focal person of Corn.
Most of the corn plantations in the major corn growing areas of the region are situated in the rolling lands like those found in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao; Paracelis, Mountain Province; and Tanudan, Kalinga.
During the conclusion of the first SoA on Corn-GAP in Tabuk, Kalinga last December 2017, the problem of soil erosion in corn growing areas, particularly those situated in the uplands has been cited as a growing concern by the farmers.
Particularly for Tanudan, farmers have been reportedly replacing their coffee plantations to corn which could environmentally disastrous over the long term.
“We can incorporate this plant as hedging for corn, simultaneously, growing it to prevent soil erosion and farmers can also harvest its leaves and shoots as feed for their livestock,” said corn program focal person Gerardo Banawa.
He added that if it is included as part of the SoA on Corn-GAP, “it’s like hitting two birds at the same time.” Meantime, there is a need to convince upland farmers to integrate coffee and corn together and maximize income from both crops.
Towards realizing these goals, strategizing and planning the conduct of the SoA was started by Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS) of the DA-CAR together with the the DA’s banner programs, particularly corn, livestock and high value crops to incorporate and disseminate appropriate technology information and advocacies on integrating corn and coffee; using Trichanthera as hedge rows; and as feed for ruminants in the SoA Corn-GAP learning module for farmers in Kalinga and Mountain Province.
To be effective, the SoA must be launched during the planting season this year, according to DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Narciso A Edillo.
In this regard, he has already advised the concerned banner focal program coordinators to start drafting the appropriate SoA module with the RAFIS that responds to the concerns of the farmers.
By Yna Puy