Every planting season, usual problem of a farmer where to obtain quality seeds and the amount needed for accessing it.
This is also the usual dilemma experienced by Gregio Basan or fondly called by his friends as Nong Gregorio, a rice farmer of Rosario, Agusan del Sur.
However, the said situation he said slowly fades away as he is now a recipient of the Community Seed Banking (CSB) of the Department of Agriculture.
Nong Gregorio said that CSB program greatly helps him in cutting input expenses of his farm in purchasing seeds which costs P1,200.00 per bag of 40 kilos.
“Palasamat gyud ko sa CSB sa DA kay nakuhaan ang akong gasto sa binhi, maayo na lang ang akong savings ipalit nako sa ubang panginahanglan” (I am so thankful of the CSB of DA because it helps me in cutting my expenses in buying seeds, therefore I can use my savings to other needs) , Nong Gregorio happily said.
Nong Gregorio said that he received 3.5 kilos of starter seeds on the first cropping season of 2012 and he planted it on his farm yielding 8 bags at 40 kilos per bag.
Out of his yield, he repaid 5 kilos to his association and the remaining he planted it back to his farm this last cropping season.
He said that seeds from CSB program really help him and his fellow farmers in his place.
Agripinoy Caraga Regional Seeds Coordinator June Anthony Ouano said that CSB program was introduced in the region since 2011 and it was mainstreamed through identified CSB managers from various farmer groups.
In Caraga there were 561 Irrigators Associations who received registered seeds which served as their starter seeds.
The distribution scheme was initially free for 20 kilos for each qualified IA with a repayment of 40 kilos after harvest which will be distributed to the next in line beneficiaries. This has a good multiplier effect for quality seeds in the region.
For the upland traditional rice seeds there were 86 FA members who availed. They may opt to pay in kind (palay) or pay in seeds at the rate of 1: 1.5 to 2 kilos repayment scheme.
CSB is aiming to increase and promote farmers access to quality seeds through a sustainable community-based seed bank that is organized, developed and managed by farmers, Irrigators Association (IAs), Farmers Association (FAs), Upland Farmers Organization (UFOs), Peoples Organization (POs) and Non – Government Organization (NGOs). (Aurell P. Arais/RAFID DA CARAGA)