“The concern of government on the plight of farmers is not just lip-service; it’s real”, thus said Nestor Servando, one of the more than 100 graduates who completed the Science and Technology Training for the Development of a Sustainable Corn Industry in Negros Occidental held at the Negros State College of Agriculture (NSCA) in Kabankalan City, southern Negros Occidental.
Servando, a farmer-leader of Barangay Oringao in the city, said he is happy and thankful that the first-ever Negros tripartite training was conducted. He said he learned a lot because the training was basic and easy-to-understand.
“What I really like is the coming and working together of farmers, academicians, and technicians on teaching and learning corn technology. Our instructors learned from our ideas and experiences while we learned appropriate technology and interventions from them,” said the 46-year-old farmer.
“I will use this knowledge on increasing production and income to have enough money to spend for the schooling of my seven children,” said Servando. “I will also share this knowledge with my fellow farmers,” he added.
Servando only finished elementary but owns half a hectare of corn, and one hectare each of rice, sugarcane, and forest trees.
Along with Servando, other small farmers and agriculturists from municipal and city governments received their certificates of completion for the first phase of the training from Regional Technical Director Joyce Wendam and Regional Corn Coordinator Ricardo Saltin of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 6 (DA-RFU 6), and Sangguniang Panlungsod Chairman on Agriculture Ricardo Regalia, Jr. at the Mount Ballo Hall in Barangay Camingawan.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Nalagon, a 32-year-old agriculture graduate who works as a guard at NSCA, said the first part of the year-round training on corn was like one year of studying agriculture.
He added that corn yield could be higher if the right technology and approaches are used. “I am even more determined to become a corn farmer. All I need is capital”.
Nalagon, a crop science major, presented his study on the effectiveness of the nuclear polyhedrosis virus on earworm-infected corn at the technology forum, the day before the graduation rites.
Another graduate, Eliseo Javalde, Jr. of the Calatrava Agriculture Office, said he has become a more effective agricultural technician. “We kept attending even if we have budgetary constraints because the farmers’ attentiveness and openness to learn inspire us. Our interactions were interesting and lively,” he said.
The organizing and training team of the corn program sees to it that the program is participatory, location-specific, and research-oriented, according to NSCA Research and Development Services Director Mae Flor Posadas.
Agencies actively involved in the training were NSCA, Kabankalan City Government, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, DA-RFU 6, Agricultural Training Institute, and the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium. Private companies donated seeds and fertilizers to the farmers. (Vishia Mae Dominic J. Tolcidas, RACE Rep-FITS OPA Negros Occidental)