Recognizing the urgency to tackle impacts of climate change on rice production, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) conducted the Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and rice production training, April 22-26.
Forty-seven high school teachers from across the country were trained to teach crop production in the next academic year.
The key aim of the training was to integrate lessons on climate-smart rice agriculture in the curriculum of the participating schools. The training was under PhilRice’s Infomediary Campaign, a youth engagement in agriculture initiative.
“This is the third year that we are focusing on climate-smart agriculture and rice production,” said Jaime A. Manalo IV, campaign team lead.
Climate-smart rice production technologies such as controlled irrigation, use of the leaf color chart (LCC), and the minus-one element technique (MOET), and use of drought and submergence-tolerant rice varieties were tackled by PhilRice experts.
Controlled irrigation is a water management technology to avoid wasteful use of water. It guides a farmer in irrigating his/her crops.
MOET and LCC are efficient guides in nutrient management. The LCC is a simple tool to determine nitrogen requirement of the soil. PhilRice studies show savings of up to P3,000 or roughly 2 bags of urea due to LCC. On the other hand, MOET is a simplified kit to diagnose micronutrient deficiencies of the soil.
“We learned about pest management, Palayamanan Plus, and other ways to improve our farming. This training is very useful in Kto12,” said Fe De Guzman of the Vicente B. Ylagan National High School in Oriental Mindoro.
Among the key highlights of the training was the lecture on Palayamanan Plus or rice-based farming systems. It is PhilRice’s key strategy to increase income of the rice-farming household.
Palayamanan Plus integrates several activities such as growing vegetables and raising livestock and other farm animals. It tackles the importance of integration, intensification, and diversification concepts in rice farming.
Elizabeth Pajarillo of San Jose Agro-industrial High school, one of the best implementers of the Infomediary Campaign in 2014, presented how she is integrating the campaign in her school.
Pajarillo presented their rice garden managed by their students and talked about the agricultural extension activity, which they conducted in their surrounding community on CSA and rice production.
The training was a series of lectures and hands-on activities. The teachers were also exposed to the rice machines developed by PhilRice.
Irwin Husmalaga from the Climate Change Commission (CCC) discussed the science of climate change to the trainees. His lecture aimed to demystify climate change to avoid misinformation on the issue.
The participants also toured around the Science City of Muñoz and visited the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMec).
“Two more batches of training on the same subject are slated on May 16-20 and June 20-24. The teacher-trainees will be an addition to the Infomediary Campaign participating schools. By end of June, there will be more than 200 Infomediary Campaign participating schools nationwide,” Manalo said.
The project is in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).