Thursday, September 24, 2015

Boosting Philippine Corn Yield via New Technology and Attitude

Joseph Calata does not appear like a typical farmer. Sporting a hairdo straight from Dragon Ball Z, wearing apparel that belongs to Bonifacio Global City rather than in the middle of cornfields in Echague, Isabela, Calata is breaking the image of the typical farmer, not only by appearance but by having a bold vision for Philippine farming.

A young and hardworking agricultural entrepreneur with a passionate interest in promoting farming as a viable and lucrative option for the youth of the country. His advocacy is to encourage the new farmers to utilize the latest farming technology and combine it with an astute business sense. Recognizing that the environment needs to be protected, these techniques will reduce the level of impact in the environment. Also, there is a need to replenish the manpower requirements of agriculture in the country. Calata cites the official Department of Agriculture data that the average age of the Filipino farmer is 57 years old. This development, when not arrested will lead to huge tracts of farmlands that will remain uncultivated in the near future that will have a sever effect on the food security of the country.

By combining the new breed of Filipino farmers with a boost in the harvest yield, Mr. Calata aims to propel Philippine agriculture into the 21st century. There is money to be had in agriculture.

Boosting Yield

Mr. Calata has partnered with Siembra Directa Corp. (SDC) of Argentina to boost harvest yield in corn farming. SDC is engaged in the development of corn planting, harvest and post-harvest capabilities of  corn farmers.  By using mechanical planters and fumigators, corn planting will have significant gains aside from higher yield. These mechanical planters will plant corn accurately with the proper amount of fertilizers. The process would minimize soil erosion, prevent soil compaction, reduced time for farmland preparation and lowering of fertilizer and irrigation costs.

The proper amount of fertilizers used in this process would also benefit the environment since there will be no excess fertilizer that can seep down to the water table or runoff into streams and rivers that will have a negative environmental impact.

The yield results in comparison is significant. Currently, the local corn farming method have a harvest yield of 3 to 6 tons per hectare. By employing the new method advocated by Mr. Calata, it could be increased to 9 to 10 tons per hectare as what is being done in Argentina today. This will benefit the revenues of the farmers, will lead to lower production costs and increase the availability of food in the country.

That is how new technology and new attitude will improve Philippine agriculture.

About the Author

The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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