Monday, August 26, 2019

Corn Farming: A Way of Life

Corn Model Farm at Lingayao, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte

Corn farming is our way of life.

Danilo Dismar, a farmer of Azpetia, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur said that since his childhood, corn farming is the main source of livelihood of his family.

“When I was still a small boy, I keep on helping my father in tilling our farm. This is a way of life that passed on from generation to generation,” he said.

Mang Danilo as fondly called preferred to plant white corn over yellow corn. “I preferred to plant white corn because this is our family’s traditional food,” he said.

Mang Danilo is the president of Azpetia Farmers Association with 65 members.

He said that when he heard that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has a project to establish flint type white corn model farm, he and his association members gladly accepted to be a farmer-cooperators.

During August 2018 planting period, the association planted around 50 hectares of white corn with free inputs provided by the DA. The counterpart of the cooperator is the area to be planted and labor.

“We were not hesitant to support the campaign of DA to promote white corn since it is our food too, and besides we were able to sell some of our products to buyers at a reasonable price,” he explained.

Aside from Azpetia Farmers Association, another association in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte also became a recipient of the program, the Brgy. Lingayao-Maningalao Corn Growers Association.

Nicamel Bajao, a member of the Brgy. Lingayao -Maningalao Corn Growers Association expressed his gratitude to DA for the project and for extending support in marketing his produce.

“I am so thankful to DA that aside from giving us the technology and the inputs, they supported us in marketing our products,” he said.

In the combined area of 100 hectares of the two model farms, a total of 52 farmers participated and were able to harvest 423 metric tons (MT) with an average yield of 4.5 MT per hectare and a net income of P23,850.00 per hectare.

In 2019,  DA Caraga targetted additional one site for the model farm.

“Aside from Prosperidad and Las Nieves that will continue as model farm site, we will be establishing another one at Tago, Surigao del Sur,” Melody Guimary, regional corn program coordinator said.

As per guidelines, DA will provide the required seeds, fertilizer, pest and disease control inputs as well as marketing support while the farmer-cooperators will establish the farm of at least 50 hectares compact area per site.

“Model farm aims to showcase appropriate technology in producing white corn to serve as learning sites for other farmers,” Guimary explained. 

Establishing a white corn model farm is one way of promoting white corn consumption, in support of Rice Corn Blend (RCB) Campaign. Filipinos are encouraged to eat corn, either pure or blend it to rice at their preferred ratio whether 30:70, 50:50 or 70:30 corn to rice mixture. 

Corn is rich in vitamins and minerals and known for its low glycemic index which is good for diabetics.

Glycemic index is a numeric scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise a person’s blood glucose or blood sugar level. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)