Researchers from PhilRice Midsayap in North Cotabato are tapping Muslim religious leaders in disseminating rice information and technologies and integrating the Islamic faith in agricultural development.
Six Muslim religious leaders from the pilot test site in Bgy. Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao were trained for two weeks on the Palaycheck system and other rice farming technologies to serve the community and capacitate their fellow farmers after the training.
“Community organizing skills of Muslim religious leaders is commendable. They have good track record and are influential in their respective communities. Hence, the chance is high that locals will follow the technologies they will advocate,” said Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, PhilRice Midsayap acting branch director.
The religious leaders chose six farmers from their community to whome they will pass on learnings from the training program using the farmer-to-farmer approach.
“I feel more confident now in capacitating local farmers on new rice farming technologies. This will come a long way considering that they are diligent and have high interest to try out what they have learned,” Abdulmumin Abdulkarim, one of the religious leaders trained, said.
Salik Guilaludin, another religious leader, shared that he, too, has been teaching his fellow farmers on water management, fertilizer application, pest and nutrient management, and the importance of synchronous planting. Asynchronous planting is common in the area.
“We hope that the religious leaders we trained will continue to be champions of new rice farming technologies. This way, sustainability is guaranteed,” Abdula said.
The project is in collaboration with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).