Farmers in Lanao del Norte who had previously abandoned rice farming due to significant yield losses are now looking forward to improved harvests, thanks to the efforts of a graduate from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund Rice Extension Service Program (RCEF RESP).
Queenie R. Notario, owner of a farm school in Bacolod, has begun planning outreach to these farmers.
“My mission is to restore their faith in rice farming. I plan to guide them on fertilizer management, which I believe will enhance their yields,” said Notario, who also owns Queensland Herbs and Tourism Farm Corporation.
Notario, who was encouraged to return to the country by her mother, said that reaching the remote villages in their municipality, nestled between mountains and rivers, presents a challenge.
“This challenge is surmountable as my mission fuels my determination. Together with my mother, Eleanor, and brother Jerome Psycke, we have already conducted rice production training in the remote barangays in the municipalities of Munai, Baloi, and Sapad. We are capable of doing more,” she said.
Notario’s commitment to sharing knowledge predates her involvement with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). Even before participating in ATI’s farming training sessions in 2014, she shared herbs and fruits from their farm with neighbors. Her participation in the training sessions only strengthened her resolve to share her newfound knowledge with local farmers.
For Notario, witnessing the growth and prosperity of farmers is the ultimate achievement.
She envisions her farm school as a steadfast pillar of support for their farming community.
“I aspire to establish a farm school that knows no limits in serving Filipino farmers,” she said.
RCEF RESP is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, the program is a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.