KABUGAO, Apayao – Some 25 farmers from Kabugao completed the six months Farmers’ Field School (FFS) on Contoured Upland Rice Farming–Based Farming System (CURBFS) last October 25, 2023 – a program to boost upland rice production.
Said farmers received their certificates and farming kits at Barangay Badduat where the graduation ceremony was held.
With the completion of the course, it is expected that these farmers will be able to practice new gained knowledge and skills to sustain upland rice farming and improve practices to avoid environmental degradation.
The traditional upland rice farming system in the province predominantly relies on slash and burn methods.
Further, upland rice is typically cultivated through direct seeding, planted along the slopes ranging from room 0⁰ to 45⁰, and, at times, even steeper terrain making rice farms susceptible to erosion. The physical area dedicated to upland rice farming in Apayao spans 7,142.52 hectares.
According to reports, for the past three years, the average area planted in each municipality is as follows: Calanasan with 912.54 hectares, Conner with 296.12 hectares, Flora with 202.50 hectares, Kabugao with 2,053.54 hectares, Luna with 154.75 hectares, Pudtol with 1,077.59 hectares, and Santa Marcela with 20.00 hectares. Approximately 66% of the total upland rice area is contributed by the upper municipalities, including Calanasan, Conner, Kabugao, and the upper barangays of Pudtol.
These municipalities yield an average of 1 to 2 metric tons of upland rice per hectare each year. However, this production is insufficient to meet the consumption and basic needs of upland rice farming families throughout the entire year.
The Provincial Office for Agricultural Services (POAS) implemented the Farmers Field School on CURBFS aiming to empower and enhance the skills and knowledge of upland rice farmers, ultimately improving their living standards, self-sufficiency, and food security while also ensuring soil protection and biodiversity conservation.
As part of this program, farmers have received essential farming kits, including a protective covering canvas (trapal), seedling trays, vegetable seeds, and pruning shears. In addition, each graduate has been provided with a total of 670 fruit-bearing trees, such as sweet Siamese, lanzones, and rambutan, with 15 trees each.
Provincial Agriculturist Prudencio Bosing emphasized the provincial government’s support for strengthening the agricultural sector. He stressed the importance of valuing government projects like these, as they significantly contribute to our daily livelihood. Furthermore, Bosing highlighted the need to monitor the reclassification of land from agricultural to commercial use, as productive lands are increasingly being sold by their owners.
Even following the training, the agricultural extension workers will continue to support the graduates by monitoring the application of their newfound knowledge, helping them realize the impact on their production and income, and further enhancing their agricultural practices. By Michelle O. Acantilado