From its humble beginnings 25 years ago, PhilRice Agusan stands today with a strong foundation in creating impacts on farmers and its surrounding communities in Northern Mindanao.
With the theme Reaping the Silver, Sowing for Gold, PhilRice Agusan celebrated its 25th anniversary on 7-8 August.
Among the highlights of the celebration was the groundbreaking ceremony of the 12 million-peso building for the station’s laboratory and lodging facilities.
PhilRice’s first executive director, Dr. Santiago R. Obien lauded the previous and present staff members of PhilRice Agusan for their relentless efforts in performing the Institute’s mandate. Obien also talked about the challenges they faced in establishing the station.
PhilRice Agusan takes root when Obien recognized the topography and agro-climatic conditions of Caraga suitable for rice research and production. Former Agusan del Norte Governor Consuelo V. Calo sold 12.8 ha of her land to PhilRice and the station then was named C.V. Calo Rice Experiment Station.
Since its establishment in August 1990, the station has already trained more than 10,000 farmers and technologists on rice production and has been involved in local and national projects funded by various institutions.
PhilRice Agusan researchers have done massive work on pest and nutrient management. Research on Metarhizium anisopliae, a biocontrol agent that attacks rice black bug (RBB), and on zinc deficiency are among PhilRice Agusan’s major contributions to rice research in the Philippines.
The local tourism council in Caraga also recognized the station as a tourist destination because of its picturesque landscapes and facilities.
Led by Branch Director Abner Montecalvo, the station today maintains more than 50 ha of seed production and rice experiment areas. It has nearly 100 personnel.
“I am very happy to know that the management and staff of PhilRice Agusan has been doing a great job and plans to do a lot more. They have showed how well they maximize their resources and handle the challenges in this region,” says Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, PhilRice’s recently appointed executive director.
Farmers, former executive directors, branch managers, and employees attended the celebration.