TABUK CITY, Kalinga – 320 Kalinga corn farmers graduated with distinctions after a four-month long course on the radio at the Golden Berries Hotel, Tabuk City, Kalinga last December 18, 2017. The Department of Agriculture (DA) – CAR implemented the first School-on-Air (SoA) on corn for farmers in the five municipalities of Kalinga (Balbalan, Pasil, Pinukpuk, Rizal, Tanudan, Tinglayan) and Tabuk City with topic on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as the main focus.
Kalinga is the second top corn producing province in the Cordillera with 13,133 ha of production area in total based on the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2016 but none of the farmers are GAP certified. “SoA on GAP on Corn is proposed and implemented so that farmers will be educated on this important topic and hopefully to empower farmers to adopt and sustain good agricultural practice for quality corn production that will soon help them become globally competitive which is timely with the ongoing ASEAN integration,” as rationalized by the late Pansy Piluden, former Regional Corn Coordinator, when the SoA was first started.
The top 10 of the batch with Alicia Ambalnog from Balbalan as the valedictorian were recognized and given special awards along with Remy Baliyao, SoA anchor/facilitator and provincial corn coordinator, and the SoA Coordinators of the participating municipalities for their dedication and support.
Provincial Agriculturist, Engr. Domingo Bakilan, challenged the farmers to apply what they have learned and to assess if the program was effective. “What you have learned should also be seen on the ground. During the next cropping season, the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) together with the DA-RFO-CAR and the respective Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs) should validate what the farmers learned and how they are applying it in their farms,” he said.
As a congratulatory message, DA-CAR Director Narciso Edillo gave his advise to the newly graduates. “I hope what you have learned in 4 months will not be put in vain; I hope you will not waste it. What you have learned can be used in many ways, not only for your own. You should be generous enough to share to your neighbors who were not able to participate in the training. The more you share your blessing, the more you will be blessed,” he added.
Dir. Edillo encouraged farmers to continue attending these kinds of activities because it is high time that our farmers know the new technologies to support not only their farms but the whole country. “We as farmers, we should not stop discovering what is best for our farms, what technology and variety is best in our place,” Dir. Narciso concluded.
By Ayra Galanza