PARACELIS, Mt. Province – A total of 29 yellow corn farmers in Barangay Butigue of Paracelis municipality celebrated their graduation from the Season-long Farmers Business School (FBS) on Corn Farming System on September 27, 2023 in Butigue, Paracelis.
The FBS is a four-month educational initiative that aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of local farmers through experiential learning. The program, conducted every half-day on Fridays, was conducted from June to September this year by the Regional Corn Program of the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) in partnership with the provincial and the municipal governments.
The FBS, an informal yet immersive educational setup, primarily focuses on experiential learning, offering farmer-enrollees the opportunity to delve into the intricate corn farming ecosystem.
Participants gained insights into various aspects of corn farming, from the seed planting to the harvesting-ready to market phase, following a comprehensive module. Experts from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist served as resource persons, guiding the farmers through good farming practices and techniques on corn such as the sustainable corn production in sloping areas (SCOPSA).
One of the key features of the FBS is the holistic approach to corn farming. Farmer-enrollees engaged in practical activities related to corn farming, ensuring that they gained hands-on experience. From preparing corn seeds for planting to ensuring they were market-ready, the participants were exposed to every step in the corn production cycle. The program emphasized sustainable farming practices, aiming to boost the region’s corn production and the overall livelihoods of local farmers.
Additionally, the FBS responds to the specific needs and queries of the enrollees, offering special topics such as record keeping and tilapia production. These subjects were introduced based on the requests and interests of the participants after completing the core module. This flexibility in the curriculum allows farmers to address real-world challenges and find solutions to common issues in the corn farming business.
DA-CAR Regional Corn Program Coordinator Gerardo Banawa expressed his satisfaction with the outcomes of the program highlighting the importance of experiential learning to better facilitate the learning-discussion with the corn farmers.
DA-CAR Agricultural Programs Coordination Officer for Mountain Province Engr. Beverly T. Pekas, representing OIC-Regional Executive Director Atty. Jennilyn M. Dawayan, also congratulated both the farmers and the facilitators of the FBS for their commitment, resulting to the completion of the program.
She emphasized on the main goal of the FBS which is to level-up the knowledge and skills of the corn farmers resulting to increased yield, and ultimately leading to their improved quality of life. Thus, Pekas, together with the other local government representatives, urged the graduates to apply their learnings and share it to others starting off with their family members and neighbors.
Moreover, the graduates were challenged to maintain and sustain the agricultural projects that were provided to them and maximize its potential according to the purpose therein.
“I encourage everyone to be responsible enough because the lifespan and success of these projects depends on you [the beneficiaries],” Board Member Ezra Samson Gomez stressed.
The Provincial Veterinarian and MPAFEC-in-charge, meanwhile, thanked the corn farmers for continuously producing yellow corn that is a major raw material needed in feed production for animals and livestock. Accordingly, one sack of feed is composed of 50% corn. He encouraged them to maximize their production and take advantage of their large areas of production.
Farmer-graduate Jean Cudiamat, in her insight, shared one learning from the FBS. According to her, the corn farm is like a child that needs to be nurtured and monitored every now and then to be able to determine the appropriate time to apply fertilizer, remove weeds, or harvest.
The FBS graduates are expected to apply their newfound knowledge and skills to improve their corn farming practices, increase crop yields, increase income, and ultimately boost the region’s corn industry. By JBAgrifino