Clear vision, close coordination and determination equal success.
These are the driving force of Caraga AgriPinoy Corn Program in attaining various achievements not just in terms of awards but on helping the farmers alleviate their plight.
DA RFO 13 Acting Director Edna Mabeza, incalculated into the minds of every staff on the corn program the importance of closely coordinating with the local government units in all its programs and activities.
Thus as a result of close coordination, DA RFO 13 garnered five major awards last year during the 1st National Quality Corn Achievers Awards wherein the awarding was held at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City last October 23, 2013.
Caraga region grabbed the following awards: Most Outstanding Province: Province of Agusan del Sur, Most Outstanding Municipalities: Esperanza, Agusan del Sur and Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; Most Outstanding Provincial Corn Coordinator- Perla C. Galaura of Agusan del Sur; Most Outstanding Municipal Corn Coordinators: Mary Jane A. Maratas and Jovie R. Ego-ugan; and Most Outstanding Corn AEWs: Ismael Saguran and Nelson Dulayba.
The awarding ceremony was attended by Acting Director Edna Mabeza, Caraga AgriPinoy Corn Coordinator Abel Wagas and no less than Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala who handed over the awards and prizes.
This activity aimed the country’s corn industry to scale height with a proof of the strong partnership of government, private sector, corn farmers and other stakeholders.
But grabbing an award is just a tip of the iceberg. What is most important is the growth rate on corn production attained last year.
Based on data, corn production posted an increase of 20.06% for the year 2013 as compared to 2012 or an annual production of 89,521 metric tons (MT) on 2012 to 107,476 MT on 2013. This was attributed to increase in area harvested which was 33,830 hectares in 2012 to 38,017 hectares in 2013 and an increase in yield from 2.65 tons in 2012 to 2.83 tons in 2013 or an increment of 6.83%.
Increase in area for corn was due to availability of seeds and favorable soil moisture while increase in yield was attributed to lesser occurrence of pests and diseases as well as the use of high quality seeds.
To strengthen coordination, DA RFO 13 meet with its local government unit counterparts composed of 82 LGU agricultural extension workers working with the corn program region wide more often.
Aside from meetings, AEWS were also equipped with the necessary capabilities through training of trainers (TOT) and other field exposure activities.
On the other hand, to make the farmers at par with the agri-technological advances, farmers field schools (FFS) were conducted.
Radio was also tapped in teaching the farmers through the University on the Air on Corn Production aired on four radio stations in Caraga. It was a two month radio airing using the corn production module anchored by the respective LGU corn coordinators together with the provincial farmcasters.
To further encourage the farmers in its endeavor, various interventions had been implemented such as the provision of farm mechanization projects ranging from planting to harvesting as well as inputs needed by the farmers.
Aside from production side, DA RFO 13 also implemented massive campaign on consumption of white corn through information and education campaign.
Following the milestones in the roadmap towards corn sufficiency in the country it is not far that Caraga Region will suffice and even more than its commodity demand.
Armed with technically equipped staff including its LGU counterparts and development minded farmers, who knows’ Caraga Region will become a major corn producer in the country. (Aurell P. Arais/DA CARAGA)