The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Isabela Branch Station has joined forces with the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 02 (DA-RFO 02) and other organizations in the implementation of School-On-the-Air (SOA) Program on Climate Smart Agriculture, which is recently launched in Cagayan Valley.
“The SOA will be conducted in the region’s major food producing provinces- Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino. It aims to involve 10, 000 farmer-enrollees for the first season, then later to engage more rice farmers reaching up to 300, 000,” DA-RFO 02 Regional Executive Director Lorenzo M. Caranguian explained.
Caraguian also added that the 40 modules on climate-smart rice agriculture will not only include cost-reducing technologies and post-harvest technologies but also credit schemes and opportunities as well as crop insurance. Dubbed as “Kaalamang Pagsasaka sa Himpapawid“, the SOA radio program is a collaborative effort of DA RFO 02, PhilRice, Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters (PFRB), Philippine Agricultural Journalists (PAJ), Cagayan Valley Agriculture and Resources Research and Development (CVARRD) Consortium, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)-Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and other regional agencies, according to Dr. Rex Navarro of IRRI CCAFS-SEA.
The above mentioned agencies including Local Government Units (LGUs), and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), have signed their commitment of support and contribution through a Memorandum of Agreement during the program launching at the Department of Agriculture Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Laboratory (CVIAL), Tuguegarao City on February 13, 2018.
Dr. Navarro also added that the SOA radio program is timely and appropriate as it aims to disseminate climate-smart adaptation and mitigation strategies to farmers.
“The initial focus of the SOA is on climate smart rice agriculture in which PhilRice Isabela is the lead partner agency”, said Hector Tabbun, chief of Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS).
Although, Cagayan Valley (Region 02) is known as one of the largest rice producing provinces in the country, second to Region 03, the region has also experienced severe weather conditions such as typhoons and droughts that affect its rice production.
Recently, the region has invested in the promotion of high quality seed utilization through hybridization program and use of certified seeds. One of the projects under the said high quality seed promotion is the Rice Model Farm Cluster project.
“For the pilot implementation of the SOA, the farmer-enrollees will participate in the Rice Model Farm Cluster project”, said Dr. Ernesto Guzman, Regulatory Division chief and Rice Program focal person, DA-RFO 02.
Guzman explained that the said radio program will serve as a complementary extension medium to come along with person-to-person interface, multi-media knowledge products, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The radio program will start its four-month airing on March 2018 every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 5:30 to 6:00 in the morning.
The DWDA 105.3mhz FM, the official radio station of DA RFO 02, will produce canned radio materials and will be disseminated to community and university radio stations in the region.