Written by Christina A Frediles
Farmers and their organizations are empowered if they actively participate in different activities of a certain project.
This observation is based on a thesis paper, “Farmers’ Participation in the Development of Location-Specific Technologies Towards Empowerment in Nueva Ecija,” which covered 103 farmer-respondents who were participants of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-PhilRice Technical Cooperation Project (TCP3).
The project was developed to identify location specific technologies or customized PalayCheck in Cabanatuan City, Rizal, and San Antonio in Nueva Ecija. The PalayCheck system is a dynamic rice crop management system that presents the best key technology and management practices from seed selection to post-harvest, in eight key checks.
To engage farmers on the project, trainings on rice production were conducted and demonstration farms were also established. The project proponents believed that through the activities, farmers can learn and experience the effects of the technologies being taught to them.
According to Joel Pascual, author of the paper, empowerment of farmers resulted to the sustainability of the project activities, continuous adoption of location specific technologies, and building-up their organization.
The birth of the TCP3 is the result of TCPs 1 and 2 where world-class facilities were put up, and manpower strengthened through education and training, which paved the way for the research and development of high yield rice production technologies. TCP3 is the combination of promotion and adoption of rice and rice-based technologies.
Increased in yield then confidence
The 1 ton per hectare increase in yield of TCP3 farmer-participants (PFs) can also be attributed to their confidence in decision-making.
According to a PhilRice report, 30 farmer participants in Agbannawag, Rizal obtained an average yield of 7.94 tons per hectare and achieved a 1.05-ton yield increase over the baseline yield of 6.89 t/ha during the 2008 dry season (DS) planting.
In the 2008 wet season (WS) planting, 23 farmer participants averaged 4.8 t/ha over the 4.74 t/ha baseline yield.
In Lagare, Cabanatuan City, 42 farmers during the 2008 DS recorded a yield advantage of 1.19 t/ha and averaged 4.44 t/h during the 2008 WS.
The Lagare Farmers’ Association likewise transformed itself into the TCP3 Lagare Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. with support from JICA, PhilRice, and Cabanatuan City Local Government Unit.
In San Mariano, San Antonio, six PFs yielded an average of 7.03 t/ha during the DS and 5.51 t/ha during the WS.