Rice tillers in four barangays in Nueva Ecija have benefited from the Farmers‘ Field School recently conducted by African trainees and supervised by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) at Muñoz City.
Ludivico Natividad of Lupao, Nueva Ecija said that his yield increased by two cavans by adopting PalayCheck, an integrated crop management system for rice that is disseminated through season-long rice farming training program of PhilRice. The three-month program was participated by 17 Africans and four Filipino extension workers.
“I used to harvest 80 cavans a hectare. This wet season, I got 100 cavans and did not apply pesticides. Thanks to the learning I gained from PhilRice experts and their African trainees who visit our barangay every Friday,” he said in Filipino.
Natividad, who used to apply pesticides twice a season, said that the Africans re-echo to them the knowledge they gained from their trainers, which include soil sampling, Agro-ecosystems Analysis (AESA), and Minus One Element Technique (MOET). AESA is used in identifying use and beneficial insects while MOET is a reliable, low-cost, and easy alternative technique that farmers can do to diagnose soil nutrient status.
Graduating from the four-month program early this month, the Africans composed the third batch of training since 2011. The training is under the alliance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, International Rice Research Institute, and PhilRice through the South Cooperation project, an Initiative of the Coalition for Africa Rice Development to increase rice production in the world‘s second-largest and second-most-populous continent.
Participants from Cameroon, Gambia, Liberia, and Zambia are expected to conduct similar trainings for farmers in their countries. In the Philippines, they had helped train farmers in Agupalo Weste, Alalay Grande, Burgos, and San Roque in Lupao, Nueva Ecija.