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Rice tillers in four barangays in Nueva Ecija had benefitted from the Farmers` Field School conducted by African trainees and supervised by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the province`s Science City of Muñoz.

Ludivico Natividad of Lupao, Nueva Ecija said his yield increased by two cavans by adopting PalayCheck, an integrated crop management system for rice, technology disseminated through the Institute`s season-long rice farming training program. The three-month program was participated by 17 Africans and four Filipino extension workers.

“I used to harvest 80 cavan a hectare. This wet season, I got 100 cav 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 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.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute