Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Better Information + Better Decision making = Profit

"What is the recent actual number of cacao trees planted in Mindanao?" asked a farmer who listened to me over the School of the Air Program. I got no exact answer.

Getting the right information for farming is crucial in farmers decision making. This farmer is one of the guys who would like to get the real data for him to make a better decision and hope to get better profit.    

He asked why my data has huge difference from what he had seen in Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) of Department of Agriculture.  Unfortunately, the data in my hand that time was taken from the organizations who were involved in the development of cacao production here in Mindanao.

If we look into it, who has the official data?  BAS has it.  How accurate are the data they got?  You be the better judge.  I hope this kind of farmer will be able to decide well with the data we showed him and what he got from BAS.

Good luck my dear farmer.  For me, I will start planting cacao too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Training the Farmers: Is the trainer competent?

Is it true that most of the extension workers often forget that they are dealing with adult learners?

I was in the middle of talk about Farmers Field School when I asked the question to a group of farmer leaders. I got varied response. I was sad to note that most of the extension workers especially coming from the LGU forgot that they are dealing with adults - not college students.

We cannot blame the LGU technicians at all. Indeed they are technically competent to teach the subject matter and few of them are trained how to communicate effectively using the adult learning principles. Generally speaking, they are hired with Job Order status - appointed by the mayor. Next elections most of them are gone. If these people are trained, I am pretty sure the agriculture sector will surely have a boosts.

The Philippine government have a program on Trainers Qualification (TQ) through TESDA not to mention ATI. I wonder if this was even tapped by our LGUs? I hope so.

Five days past and it was the last day of training. I wrapped the sessions by knowing the participants feedback. I was surprised to hear that they were actually trying to check the speaker & giving me feedback about their experience with the speakers - how the speaker presented their piece as well as how the speaker effectively communicated with them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mindanao participates in building the Philippine Organic Roadmap

Various stakeholders in Mindanao attended the consultative workshop on the formulation of Philippine Organic Agriculture(OA) Roadmap held at Davao City last September 7, 2011 organized by Bureau of Agriculture & Fisheries Product Standards headed by Dr. Gilberto F. Layese.

Various sectors coming from the Local Government Units, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office, Department of Agriculture Provincial Field Office, Non-Government Organizations, Peoples Organization,and Business Sector.

The workshop intended to answer two main questions namely: What are the problems you see in Organic Agriculture in the Philippines and What do you think is the solution to the said problem. Each sector gave various views but in the end the Key Areas were identified: Research, Development & Extension, Production, Financial Market development and Policy.

The NGO Group 3 had identified RD&E as first priority. Such priority was based on the facts that there are no data available yet to support the claims in terms of technology and so with the whole value chain of organic agriculture. The need of looking at the whole value chain of Philippine Organic Agriculture is what we are pushing and not just one sector. Further, we need to instill and train our farmers to look Farming As A Business not just organic farming.

There were discussions on why the Department of Agriculture are promoting Organic Agriculture yet also promoting BioTechnology. Dr. Leyese stressed that Organic Farming is an option. Indeed, it is an option and I believe we have our choice. Nevertheless Filipino Farmers need to educated so that they can see the pros and cons of organic farming. Without that, they would stick to what they believe in and the cycle goes...

Finally, my congratulations to the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) and the Department Of Agriculture headed by Sec. Alcala for starting to make a difference in the Philippine Organic Agriculture. May you continue to work on it not just on papers but rather in the field - Balik Kita sa Uma.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Increase Coconut Productivity using CocoCheck as guide

Coconut farming has been a part of Filipinos long time ago and plays an important role in the nations economy. It is sad to note that more and more coconut farms are now converted to banana plantations due to the fact that coconut farming is no longer a lucrative business. Further, high productivity level could not be achieved and can be attributed to lack technical information.

The CoCoPal project of ACDI/VOCA thought of ways to help coconut farmers. The CocoCheck System was developed and now used for the project. This is the 2nd technical handbook released by ACDI/VOCA Philippines for its beneficiaries.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cocoa CheckBook developed in Mindanao

ACDI/VOCA Philippines Chief of Party and his staffs develop the first ever CocoaCheck booklet in Philippines if not throughout the world.


The book was written and edited by Nic Richards, Raul Itong, Janoz Xn Yesu Laquihon for the use for ACDI/VOCA CoCoPal project.

According to authors, "The CocoaCheck is all about learning, checking and sharing, of best cocoa crop management practices. It is an innovative system of crop management patterned from the PalayCheck system developed by PhilRice and Australia’s Ricecheck system.

CocoaCheck system is a holistic approach to cocoa production. It covers the three main stages of cocoa production: crop establishment, crop maintenance, crop harvest and post harvest operations.
For more information visit www.acdivoca.org

Monday, March 7, 2011

Davao holds Dairy Congress

Dairy farmers, advocates, academe, and law makers attends the 14th Dairy Congress and Expo on May 12-14, 2011 at the Davao Convention and Trade Center, Regine’s Compound, F. Torres St., Davao City.

The congress theme is “Gatas ni Pinoy, Yaman ng Pinoy!” hosted by the Federation of Davao Dairy Farmers Cooperative and sponsored by the National Dairy Authority, Philippine Carabao Center, Livestock Development Council and Land O’ Lakes Foundation Philippines, Inc.

There will be plenary sessions and arranged tours to selected Agri-Tourism spots and dairy plant. For further information please visit www.dairyconphil.webs.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cocoa products exports increased!

Davao City - Volume of Cocoa products exported from Davao City had dramatically increased six fold in 2009. This was revealed by Mary Ann P. De Guzman, acting chief of the export division, Bureau Of Customs XI in an interview conducted by Cacao Watch Editorial Team - a cocao industry development newsletter managed by Nic Richards, the ACDI/VOCA Chief of Party.

Importing countries include USA, China, Netherlands, Thailand and Malaysia.

ACDI VOCA along with other key players - played an important role in developing the cocoa industry in the country through its SUCCESS ALLIANCE II project.

Today, ACDI/VOCA continued to help farmers through Cocoa, Coconut, and Palayaman (CoCoPal) project with funding support from USDA. For more information please visit www.acdivoca.org

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ACDI/VOCA helps farmers in Mindanao through CoCoPal project

The ACDI/VOCA Cocoa, Coconut, and Palayamanan (CoCoPal) project formally started its Training of Trainers last September 5, 2010 at Malagos Garden Resort, Calinan, Davao City with participants coming from Western and Southern Mindanao.

According to Nic Richards, the ACDI VOCA CoCoPal project Chief of Party, the project aims to establish Village Technology Extension Farms (VTEF); provide farmer training and extension; improve post-harvest practices and infrastructure; improve sourcing of planting material; develop organic, farm based fertilizer and pesticide products and suppliers; and establish agro-enterprise clusters with funding support from USDA.

The training is designed to prepare the CoCoPal Extension Facilitators (CEF) in establishing the VTEF which is the CoCoPal main extension strategy. The CEF will are front line development facilitators that are expected to help 25,000 farmers in Mindanao. The training module includes extension and facilitation with emphasis in the importance of the whole farm planning approach and technical inputs in cocoa, coconut and rice.

For further information please visit www.acdivoca.org

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Agriculture Secretary visits Mindanao

DA Sec. Prospero Alcala visited Mindanao to meet farmers and Local Chief Executives last August 9, 2010.

Sec. Alcala was the first secretary to come down and talk to LCEs and farmers. Among the farmers he met were small-scale banana growers and coconut farmers. He also gave way for the first press conference of Davao City Press Club and also met the governors and city mayors of Region XI.

During his visit, he emphasized organic agriculture as an alternative to conventional farming system which heavily relies on expensive synthetic inputs. He also stressed that there will be no more rice importation in 3 years time. He however said that it is not easy to solve the problem on rice cartel however they are taking actions that cannot be divulge yet.

Sec. Alcala is an engineer by profession but grew as a farmers’ kid. As a former congressman, he authored the Organic Act of 2010 (RA10068) and Climate Change Act (RA9729) among others.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Farmers to join Kadayawan 2010

More flowers,fruits, and livestock farmers joins Davao City in its celebration of Kadayawan 2010 (K10).

You will be able to see various agricultural inputs and products on the agri-trade fair. The annual display for sale of agriculture products and by-products will open on 13th August and will end on 31st August 2010 at SM City Davao Future Development Site.

The activity is staged by Mindanao’s premier floriculture institution, the Floriculture Industry Council of Southern Mindanao (FICSMIN) together with the City Veterinarian Office, City Agriculture Office and the City Cooperative Office.

For further information please visit