BANGUED, Abra – Corn farmers from Apayao, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province attended and participated in the 2nd Regional Corn Congress in Bangued, Abra.
Assistant Secretary for Field Operation Service (FOS) Federico E. Laciste Jr. graced the congress. He said that the corn congress is a good venue for consultation and dialogue. Aside from showcasing the best accomplishment and best practices from the success stories, it is also a venue for building linkages with the market and with the stakeholders, he added.
A pre-forum was held on the first day of the congress. Out of the issues and concerns discussed, participants finalized the resolution that was presented to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol through Asec. Laciste.
Other activities included the trade fair showcasing agricultural products. Further, a Governor’s Night was celebrated to show gratitude to the farmers for providing food for everyone.
On the second day of the congress, the participants were warmly welcomed by Mayor Dominic Valera represented by Councilor Essex Baroña of Bangued, Abra.
Engr. Danilo Daguio, Regional Technical Director for Operations of DA-CAR presented updates on the corn industry in the region. He also elaborated the interventions provided by DA-CAR to the farmers.
Corn farmers also shared their unique stories on how they were able to succeed through corn production.
Moreover, Dr. Artemio M. Salazar, Project Leader of the Corn Germplasm Utilization through Advanced Research and Development Project turned over the improved glutinous corn called “Mais PAEP” to Governor Maria Jocelyn Bernos assisted by RTD Daguio and Provincial Agriculturist Expedito Villaruz.
“Mais PAEP” is an improved glutinous white corn variety from the province of Abra that is commonly used for making “cornik”. This native variety was almost lost when other high yielding varieties of glutinous corn became available in Abra. The original stock was obtained by the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) of CAFS with the help of the Department of Agriculture. The IPB improved its agronomic performance and confirmed its nutritional value, and it hopes that this contribution will help Abra farmers increase their income.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in an open forum facilitated by the Chief of Operations Virginia Tapat and Institutional Development Unit Head Danny Agliam. With the theme “Panagsalukag, Panangipakat ti baro a Teknolohiya ken Panagtalek ti Dios, Tulbek ti Panagrang-ay,” the congress served as a venue for the farmers to discuss various issues, concerns, and challenges related to the corn program.
On the last day of the Congress, some farmer participants visited the chichacorn processing center being managed by the Gabriela Women Association.
The congress is considered successful for the coming up with a resolution handed to Asec. Laciste who assured the participants that they will help through the Regional Field Office of the Department of Agriculture according to Joseph Benemiritu, Cordillera Administrative Region Corn Cluster Federation Incorporated.
By Karen T. Gawigawen