PLANTING FESTIVAL IN UPI SHOWCASES GAINS IN RICE PRODUCTION THROUGH MECHANIZATION
A rice planting festival was spearheaded by the MAFAR today, June 21, 2020 in Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao, through which, farmers appreciated the benefits of mechanization and using high quality seeds.
The farmers and officials from the MAFAR joyfully arranged the rice seedling trays and formed the name UPI on the ready ricefield as they prepared for the activity.
During the short program, model farmer Mark Anthony C. Tesoro testified that using mechanical transplanter increases production in rice by 20% and reduces production cost by up to 30% as he himself has proven it with their years of experiments in perfecting the operation of the farm equipment.
Tong A. Abas, Regional Rice and Seed Coordinator, said the activity may be small but it has a big impact as it will contribute to attaining food sufficiency. He added that there is a need to plant a total of 215,000 hectares to make the rice supply enough for the Bangsamoro Region.
Meanwhile, Abdulnasseef S. Ulong explained that the activity is part of the establishment of palay seed production in BARMM that aims to address the difficulty among farmers in sourcing out quality rice seeds as it ensures the availability in the localities especially in times of emergency like this COVID-19 pandemic where mobility has been affected. He added that this allows the ministry to deviate from the need to procure seeds from the other provinces like Nueva Ecija in Luzon.
The whole demonstration area will cover 238 hectares that will be expected to produce more or less 1,428 tons of certified rice seeds in October this year.
It has been hard to convince the farmers to adopt the technology of using certified seeds as they are used to planting good or home-saved seeds according to Akmad Dimacisil, Municipal Agricultural Officer. But because of the demonstration farms established, the farmers appreciated the technology as they see its benefits and now, they were convinced to plant high quality rice seeds.
The activity follows the directive and advocacy of Minister Mohammad S. Yacob to bring the programs and needed assistance to the communities and to encourage the farmers to be innovative to become more productive.
Open forum was also conducted during the program to allow the farmers to ask questions pertaining to their farming concerns and be answered by the officials accordingly.
The activity was also attended by Cristino Cariño, MAFC Chairman, Jonathan P. Acopio, Chairman of the Upian Agripinoy Farmers’ Cooperative and the barangay government officials.