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AGRARIAN REFORM Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes led the turn-over ceremony of a P13.5-million post harvest facility to the farmer-beneficiaries of 3M3BC agrarian reform community (ARC) in barangay Bunsuran, Pandi, Bulacan. The 240 sq. m. facility, which was constructed inside the vicinity of the Manatal Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), will serve as the trading center for palay for 695 farmers of 3M3BC ARC and some 400 farmers more who are members of the Cooperative in Magiting ARC cluster. Delos Reyes learned that Manatal MPC will be the consolidator and marketing arm of the farmer-beneficiaries to ensure higher price of their farm produce. “The Manatal MPC has a marketing tie-up with eight rice traders in different municipalities of Bulacan whose total annual market demand is 1,292,040 cavan supply of palay on daily basis,” he said. The palay warehouse, constructed under the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project phase III (ARISP III), is funded under Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) with the other funds shouldered by local government of Bulacan and by the Manatal MPC. Yojiro Sekiguchi, ARISP III Consultant, said the warehouse could store 10,000 cavans of palay and its 780 sq. m. concrete surrounding would serve as solar dryer for the farm yields. Prior to the turn-over ceremony, Delos Reyes also joined out-going Israeli Ambassador Zvi Vapni to inspect a techno-demo farm, also in the same barangay. There is a project of Philippine-Israel Center for Agricultural Training phase (PICAT II). The PICAT II is a collaborative undertaking of the State of Israel and the Government of the Philippines and is jointly implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and concerned LGUs. Vapni said the 250 sq. m. productive farm produces a variety of vegetables that includes tomatoes, eggplants, papayas, string beans, and peppers among others. “The technology and knowledge employed by the farmers to their farms are results of the numerous trainings conducted by PICAT II,” he added. “When I leave your country next week, one of the things I would miss is the sight of your beautiful farms and the smiles of Filipino farmers,” Vapni said. “Lastly, I would like to thank you for giving our Israeli agricultural experts the opportunity to share our agricultural technologies that our country is noted for,” he added. Farmer-beneficiary Alfredo Mendoza, who witnessed the two events, couldn’t contain his gratitude to the government. “I am very excited for this project, after the agricultural education we acquired from various trainings conducted by PICAT, we have now a very huge storage for our farm harvests,” he said. PAS, DAR

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August 7, 2011 at 1:44 am

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The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has completed more than P5 billion worth of irrigation  systems from 1974 to 2010 for farming communities that cannot be served by large-scale irrigation systems.


Based on its cumulative report, the BSWM undertook four  types of irrigation systems: Small Water Impounding Projects, Small Diversion Dams (SDDs) Small Farmer Reservoir (SFR) and Shallow Tube Wells (STWs).


“Without the establishment of these irrigation projects by the BSWM, many small farming communities not reached or serviced by national irrigation systems would not have water to grow crops, which could affect national food output and security,” BSWM Executive Director Silvino Tejada said.


The projects undertaken from 1974 to 2010 by the BSWM covered 199,727 hectares and benefitted 148,647 farmers nationwide.


For SWIPs, the BSWM completed 2,060 units with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) getting 228 followed by Region 2 (211 SWIPs), Region 1 (196 SWIPs) and Region 3 (170 SWIPs).


“SWIPs have proven their impact in regions where there is pronounced wet and dry seasons like the northern part of the Philippines. During the wet season, excess water is impounded by the SWIPs and then used during the dry season,” Tejada said.


The BSWM spend almost P3 billion to establish the 2,060 SWIPs nationwide from 1974 to 2010, covering 84,168 hectares and benefitting 64,266 farmers.



For SFRs, the BSWM established 22,282 from 1974 to 2010 costing P170 million, covering also 22,282 hectares and benefitting the same number of farmers.


Region 3 had the most number of SFRs established with 5,903 followed by Region 1 (3,734 SFRs), Region 2 (2,961 SFRs) and CAR (1,825 SFRs).


“The small farmer reservoirs have also made a big impact on farmers that cannot be reached by national irrigation systems, and these can be easily established in far-flung areas where farming is the main source of livelihood,” Tejada said.


For shallow tube wells, the BSWM invested P1.85 billion for 30,588 units covering 91,589 hectares and benefitting 60,968 farmers. Region 3 lead the regions with the biggest number of STWs established with 5,326 followed by Region 1 (4,664 STWs), Region 2 (3,893 STWs) and Region 6 (2,623 STWs).


The BWSM also spent nearly P40 million for the rehabilitation of 566 STWs nationwide covering 1,698 farmers and benefitting 1,132 farmers.


Tejada said that under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and through the stewardship of DA Sec Procy J. Alcala the BSWM will continue to establish SWIPs, SDDs, SFRs and STWs for small farmers who live in areas that cannot be reached by national irrigation systems, and this is one way of showing that the government cares for the welfare of small farmers.


“I believe that the four infrastracture projects of the BSWM can greatly contribute to the achievement of the vision of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to achieve rice self sufficiency by 2013 and make the country’s agriculture sector a major pillar of rural and national development,” the BSWM head said. Veron Hernandez, PSciJourn Mega Manila


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August 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

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Four provinces to get onion storage facilities

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The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) has identified four provinces that will be given onion storage facilities as part of the government’s thrust to reduce postharvest losses in high value commercial crops. The Project is under the Department of Agriculture-High Value Crops Development Program (DA-HVCDP), one of the priority projects of Agriculture Secretrary Proceso Alcala.


DA-PhilMech Executive Director Ricardo L. Cachuela said the storage facilities for onion will be located in Nueva Ecija,  Mindoro , Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, which are major onion producers and have provinces beside or nearby that also produce the crop in abundance.


“Onion is one of the cash crops for farmers in areas like Region 1 and 3 and Region 4B, but farmers could earn more from onion if we are able to reduce postharvest losses from around 20% to 25%,” Cachuela said.


The facility holds loosely stored onions in bulk or bags in a shed structure with good ambient air circulation with cool and  dry storage conditions Too much heat or moisture can shorten the shelf life of onion. The onion hanger facility is a two storey structure that cost P1.5M each.


Each facility can store between 2,000 to 3,000 bags of onion.


Based on the survey of PhilMech, onion is among the agricultural commodities that are stored in the country’s cold chain system along with lettuce, broccoli, meat and tuna.


PhilMech is finalizing the financial plan for the four onion storage facilities, with the aim of tapping the cooperation of farmer cooperatives, private sector and local governments, among others.



After the four onion storage facilities are established, PhilMech will identify more provinces that can host similar facilities.



Cachuela said that the establishment of the onion storage facilities can reduce postharvest loses of the crop to as low as 5%, and will allow farmer and cooperatives to store their onions properly.



The reason why onion farmers cannot sell their produce at a higher price is the absence of proper storage facilities. Once in place, the onion storage facilities could also help farmers seek buyers who could pay them better prices since they could store their onions properly.



Under proper storage conditions with the right temperature, onions can be stored from six to eight months.


DA-PhilMech hopes to establish the onion cold storage facilities this year. DA-PhilMech Communications Team

Written by tuklasinnatin

August 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Usapang Bukid

12 fishery commodities positioned to generate $10B export to be supported with R & D

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The government will provide a strong research and development (R&D) support for 12 fishery commodities that are being positioned to be a huge dollar earner and a source of rural jobs and livelihood.

Export revenue from the fishery sector is reaching to $700 to $800 million annually as reported by the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR).  But its potential is as much as $10 billion, according to Agriculture and Fisheries 2025 Visioning report, considering the country’s immense marine biodiversity and archipelagic nature.

The Bureau of Agricultural Research-Department of Agriculture (BAR-DA) is supporting the national government’s thrust to boost fisheries revenue with its lineup of R&D programs for 12 commodities from 2011 to 2016.

These are on tuna, seaweeds, shrimp, tilapia, milkfish, shellfishes, including abalone and oyster, mudcrab, rabbitfish, sea cucumber, grouper, and pangasius.

“Government’s thrust to make the fisheries sector a big dollar earner and jobs supplier is a potential that the fishery industry has long recognized.  Our research programs will help establish these hopes and sustain the sector in reaching revenue targets,” said BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.

Tuna, being the country’s top export earner at close to $400 million, is a top BAR R&D agenda.  This involves mapping through geographic information system (GIS) of migratory patterns of tuna and value adding technologies in order to generate more, higher priced tuna products than the present export of mostly canned tuna. 

This is in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD), and the University of the Philippines Visayas.

For shrimp which contributes $70 million to fishery export, there is a need to come up with a Philippine-bred, disease free broodstock.   The country presently imports disease free, technically called Specific Pathogen Free or Specific Pathogen Resistant (SPF or SPR) broodstock for Black Tiger Shrimp. Shrimp or prawn has a huge export market in developed countries even as Thailand exports prawn at $1-$2 billion yearly.

Use of biocontrol agents, such as the green water technology, in grow-out culture is now practised by shrimp producers in the country.  The development of this farmer-friendly technology was a project funded by the BAR through its Biotechnology Research and Development Program. 

Seaweeds, exported at around $130 million mostly in the form of semi-processed carrageenan, require programs on the development of disease-free species particularly for the food processing grade cottonii variety.  

Molecular marker assisted breeding will be used to develop disease-resistant strains. Other seaweed programs are the establishment of live gene bank for the identification of quality seaweed germplasm and a study on seaweed growing’s stock enhancement and stock monitoring system.

For tilapia, the R&D agenda focuses on the development of low-cost, high-quality, and environment-friendly feeds. While BFAR’s National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) has already developed excellent tilapia strains such as saline tolerant and cold tolerant tilapia, there is a need to produce their broodstock and fingerlings. 

The production of fry for tilapia suitable for extreme temperature arising from climate change is an important concern as much as this is also a concern in other fishery species.

A popular local fish species, milkfish, needs improved hatchery techniques on broodstock management, nutrition, larval rearing, and handling.  Low cost feed production, mapping of fry sources, and proper cage design under extreme environmental conditions are other milkfish research areas.

BAR is also supporting R&D for other fishery products that have yet to be produced in bigger quantities. R&D area in mudcrab includes development of a hatchery system, production of quality broodstock, and value adding technologies. 

Other products that require a good hatchery system and value adding technologies are rabbitfish, sea cucumber, abalone, and other shellfishes. For pangasius, a big export product of Vietnam, the R&D concern is on the production of fingerlings. 

The rest of the research areas are on identification of potential sites for oyster and quality control standards particularly for the depuration  from PSP (paralytic shellfish poisoning) toxins  of oyster; genetic fingerprinting for breeding of grouper; and  development of grow out culture protocol and marker assisted breeding for abalone and other shellfishes.

The A&F 2025 spearheaded by DA and the Congressional Commission on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization indicated that the Philippines can become a seafood basket and aqua-marine center of the world.

Among the goals are to produce one million metric tons (MT) of bangus and 500,000 MT of tilapia, and 90,000 MT of shrimp from the present 35,000 MT; establish a 1,000-hectare aquaculture area that is mechanized and a tilapia grow-out facility for private farmer partnership; and set up a fisher technician training program and a community organizing volunteers project. Carol Rosqueta, Bureau of Agricultural Research

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July 31, 2011 at 4:15 am

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DA releases P20M for rainfed program to raise food production in one million hectares of poorest farms

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) is releasing an initial P20 million in the third quarter for a national rainfed program aimed at raising food production in more than one million hectares of land tended by the country’s poorest farmers.


DA has partnered with India-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to carry out the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research and Development and Extension Program (PhiRARDEP). 


DA will work on PhilRARDEP through its staff bureaus, Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), together with its Regional Field Units (RFU)- Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers (RIARCS), Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Centers (ATI-RTC) as well as selected State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).


“DA Secretary (Proceso) Alcala will release P20 million this August for our rainfed program.  We will be implementing programs that we have learned based on how the government of India put its money for what is important,” said ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar.


Coordinating agency for the PhiRARDEP will be BAR.


“PhiRARDEP’s components are rainfed farming innovation; community-based watershed management and soil conservation; policy formation; and capacity building.  We will train technicians who will help marginal farmers in raising their income,” said BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.


While the Philippine government has in the past poured majority of its funding and policy support for irrigated agriculture, rainfed areas have been neglected despite its huge contribution to food production.


“Almost half of our food supply comes from rainfed areas.  If it’s developed, maybe this can rise to 60 to 70 percent,” said ICRISAT Communications Director Rex Navarro.


The impact on farmers is also immense.


“The Philippines is predominantly rainfed.  An estimated 20 million Filipinos are in these area.  Farmers only depend on rainfall for their water supply which is why their income is limited specially if they plant only rice. What we’ll do is introduce to them other (drought-resistant) commodities,” said Eleazar.


Farmers in rainfed areas may only plant rice once a year instead of twice due to their rain-dependence.  Among alternative crops considered to be drought-resistant or those requiring much less water compared to rice are root crops such as sweet potato and cassava and legumes including peanut, pigeonpea, chickpea, and sweet sorghum.


Alcala has also supported the planting of adlai, a rice-like crop known to be a staple of some Filipino natives in Mindanao, and white corn.


The importance of a rainfed agriculture program is expected to intensify due to the manifestation of climate change which poses a threat of reduction of water supply for agriculture along with increasing temperature or hotter climate.


DA-BAR earlier funded the Community Based Watershed Management (CBWM), a rainwater harvesting technique, in four sites—Tarlac, Bulacan, Ilocos Sur, and Bohol.        


“Uplands represent about 74 percent of the country.  Soil erosion is widespread in these areas with devastating impact on farm household.  Poverty, poor infrastructure, lack of institutions and policies, unemployment, and poor health and sanitation are entrenched among these communities, according to a DA-BAR-ICRISAT report.


“(But) CBWM is a promising strategy to improve livelihood of upland farmers and abate ecological degradation.”


Pivotal to the success of CBWM is the participation of natives living in these areas and a program that satisfies their economic needs through relevant livelihood opportunities. These include rice farming, fishing, livestock raising and non-farm programs such as handicraft making.


CBWM taught farmers in these areas to conserve water through techniques like contour farming using hedgerows, trash line, and store lines which are systems of constructing plots that collect excess and store rainwater. 


However, the major infrastructure program is the construction of weirs, concrete storage tank, small farm water reservoir, and spring development diversion dam.

Organic agriculture is also part of this program including composting, biogas technology, and liquid fertilizer production.


PhiRARDEP aims to replicate a watershed program of ICRISAT in the 464-hectare Adarsha Watershed, Kothapally in India which despite the abject absence of water or surface water sources like rivers has become a successful farming village.


Through a watershed approach that harnesses rainwater in check dams, sunken pits, and mini percolating tanks, farmers in Adarsha Watershed are able to plant many crops like corn, sorghum, and pigeonpea.  As Adarsha’s dams recharge the groundwater, their dams have become sources of water that have been able to irrigate 60 hectares as of 1998.  Adarsha’s irrigated area even augmented to 160 hectares as of 2008.


Because of the success of Adarsha Watershed, the watershed approach’s replication has been sanctioned by a national guideline of the Indian government.  It has been multiplied in many Indian districts.


“Our compulsion here was for ICRISAT to come up with a good watershed model that approximates agricultural communities.  So in this case even the lowest 500-hectare village can be a watershed,” said Dar, a former Philippine DA secretary.


Watershed areas may also expand to 1,000 to 2,000 hectares.


“One of ICRISAT’s biggest contribution in watershed management is on India’s national policy taking learning from Kothapally.  The guidelines have changed as a result of ICRISAT’s experience.   They used to have just a few hectares.  Now they have made it wider, so the impact is bigger . They also included vulnerable groups like women and children and livelihod programs. Before the original watershed program was just on soil conservation and moisture content,” said Dr. Rosana P. Mula, CBWM resource person.


CBWM, implemented in the Philippines since 2005, also had a component for coconut-based processed food production including vinegar, nata de coco, and macaroons. BAR-DA

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July 27, 2011 at 11:46 am

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AGRARIAN Reform Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan (2nd from left) shakes hands with Balingoan, Misamis Oriental Mayor Perlita Espero as he hands to her a letter of intent that provides P46.5 Million worth of basic rural infrastructure projects in her locality, which from part of the contribution of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the newly launched Mount Balatukan Range Convergence Agro-Enterprise Cluster in the first district of Misamis Oriental. The DAR, DA, and the DENR and partner private agencies have committed close to P1 Billion worth of basic rural infrastructure and livelihood projects this year alone to preserve Mt. Balatukan as a watershed area, while promoting the economic well-being of the Northeastern part of Misamis Oriental by planning within its perimeter areas cash crops such as vegetables, bananas, corn, cassava and by developing agro-forestry, among others. Looking on are Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno (right) and DAR Northern Mindanap Regional Director Felixberto Aguhob.

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July 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

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AGRARIAN Reform Undersecretary Jerry Pacturan (2nd from left) and Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno (2nd from right) give a round of applause as Marriz Agbon , President of the Philippine Agricultural Development Commercial Corp. (PADCC), unveils the Mount Balatukan Range Convergence Agro-Enterprise Cluster at the provincial capitol compound in Cagayan De Oro City. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) adopted Misamis Oriental as the 9th Convergence Area and allotted close to P1 Billion worth of basic rural infrastructure and livelihood projects for this year alone to preserve Mt. Balatukan as a watershed area, while promoting the economic well-being of Northeastern part of Misamis Oriental by planting within its perimeter areas cash crops such as vegetables, bananas, corn, cassava and developing agro-forestry, among others. Looking on at right is DENR Assistant Secretary Michelle Angelica Go (right). 

Written by tuklasinnatin

July 26, 2011 at 10:37 am


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