Rice productivity remains a challenge in Isabela, despite being the second largest province in the country with favorable rice-growing environment, according to Isabela Provincial Agriculturist Danilo Tumamao.
In a stakeholders’ meeting organized by PhilRice Isabela at Cagayan Valley Research Center on July 7, stakeholders from public and private sectors were gathered to solicit their engagement in helping rice-based communities towards inclusive and sustainable rural development.
Under the PhilRice Rural Transformation Movement (RTM), the PalaYamaNayon strategy was introduced to rice stakeholders in the province.
“PalaYamaNayon, a term coined from palay (rice), yaman (wealth), and nayon (community), envisions a holistic, inclusive, and sustainable growth in rice-based communities such as in Isabela,” said Perry Irish Duran, RTM team member.
Duran added that it aims to change the mindset of farmers, from being mere rice producer to agripreneurs.
The said strategy is used in various community pilot sites in the Philippines, strategically located in areas where PhilRice branch stations are situated.
“We have started to develop a model farm community adopting the strategy in Brgy. San Juan, Quirino, Isabela,” said Andres L. Dela Cruz, Jr., PhilRice Isabela R&D coordinator.
The strategy aims to create a rice-based enterprise using diversification (maximum use of farm space), intensification (maximum use of time), and integration (farm resource and zero-waste management).
“Aside from growing rice, various rice-based enterprises such as mushroom and vermiculture production were introduced and developed to boost the income of rice farmers in the area,” Dela Cruz said.
Another community pilot site will be established in Ilagan, Isabela.
Duran said PalaYamaNayon also aims to ensure that the current rice technologies would be translated into better income for the farmers.
“Such transformation will only be possible through a concerted effort from various stakeholders aside from agriculture-related agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), NGOs, and farmers’ cooperatives,” Duran said.
Said meeting was attended by representatives from TESDA, DTI, DA-RFO II, Provincial Agriculture Office and Municipal Agriculture Offices of Ilagan and Quirino, Isabela.