More than 100,000 upland rice farmers are encouraged to organize into groups and register their associations for them to easily access government programs.
Ruben B. Miranda, national coordinator of the Upland Rice Development Program (URDP) said that a formally organized group is indispensable in fostering progressive rice farming communities.
“It`s easier for agricultural workers to reach organized and registered groups because systems are in place. Well-placed systems also facilitate easy access on government programs and services,” Miranda said during the Upland Palayamanan Farmer Field School (FFS) Graduation Day in Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) in Bulacan, Oct. 21.
Last year, the participants of the upland Palayamanan FFS in DRT had organized themselves and registered their group as Kalawakan Upland Farmers` Association to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Responding to the need raised by the Kalawakan Upland Farmers` Association regarding the availability of vegetable seeds to be planted during the dry season, DA-Regional Field Office 3 (DA-RFO 3) looks into the possibility of putting up a nursery for vegetables in the Upland Palayamanan FFS site. The establishment of nursery for vegetables prevents seedling stress as the farmers need not to transport the seedlings from DA-RFO 3 to their fields for almost an hour in a rough road.
DRT Mayor Rolando Flores, on the other hand, expressed his support to the program as he believes that there`s money in farming particularly in integrating rice with vegetables and livestock. Recently, the Philippine Rice Research Institute thru its “Gusto Namin Milyonaryo” campaign is engaging millionaire-farmers to share their farming experiences to rice tillers across the country.
The 3-ha upland Palayamanan FFS site of the Kalawakan farmers is used for seed production and features participatory varietal trial of modern and traditional upland rice varieties and participatory technology development demonstration of seeding rates and planting distance.
The FFS site is also planted with vegetables such as eggplants, string beans, cassava, and lemongrass and flowers to manage pest or harmful organisms.