Monday, March 28, 2016

SCOPSA, GAINING POPULARITY AMONG CORN FARMERS

(From Left to Right) Regional Technical Director Orlando Lorenzana (Region II), Ms. Nancy de Sagun (BSWM), Assistant Director Sonia Salguero (BSWM), Engr. Samuel Contreras (BSWM) and Mr. Dominciano Ramos (BSWM) joined by the participants and representatives from the DA's Regional Field Offices, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and Private Agricultural Sectors during the National Consultative Review and Planning Workshop for Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas (SCoPSA) held at the BSWM Convention Hall.

Based on the initial result of the project implementation of Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas (SCoPSA), farmers and Local Government Units (LGUs) are seen to be highly engaged in establishing more new sites and community based techno-demo farms that can benefit almost 600,000 families in the country relying to corn as their main source of livelihood.

Results are manifested by the numerous requests coming from the LGUs seeking assistance to conduct technical briefings and capacity trainings that is more than twice the target for 2015.

Based on reports of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) as the implementing agency of the program, 1,200 corn farmers have already given assistance and consultations that strengthened partnership among various stakeholders engaged in corn production and the government from April to December 2015 in the provinces of Quirino, Iloilo, Capiz, Nueva Vizcaya, Albay and Bukidnon.

In 2013, the Department of Agriculture instructed the BSWM in close coordination with DA-RFOs to provide Techno-Demo Farms to address the issues concerning improper soil and water conservation management and other human-induced crop production practices in sloping areas, particularly, upland fields that are not supposed to be planted with corn to protect landscapes.

Presently, SCoPSa is one of the Department of Agriculture's soil conservation and climate change adaptation measures through the coverage of corn areas vulnerable to soil erosion in different locations of the country.

The project is implemented by establishing a techno-demo farm showcasing easily adoptable and socially acceptable soil and water conservation technologies which are focused on soil erosion control and gully stabilization to improve soil fertility.

According to BSWM Director Silvino Tejada, corn is considered cash crop for the last five years through introduction of technologies for corn production.

"We are aiming for sustainable agricultural practices that can benefit not just the farmers but the whole agricultural sector in  the long run" Tejada added.

Furthermore, to enhance the productivity level of corn production and extend the promotion of sustainable land use management, a two-day Consultative Review and Planning Workshop for SCoPSA was carried out by the BSWM led by Assistant Director Sonia M. Salguero at the BSWM Convention Hall. The said workshop was attended by the DA's attached agencies, DA-Regional Field Offices and Crop Life Philippines representatives.

During the island-wide consultation, it was proposed that additional community-based sites shall be established for more opportunities that can be provided and extended to upland corn farmers to increase their income while promoting sustainable land use management and good agricultural practices.

"Doing this is not just promoting the corn but making sure that the production in these particular fields is sustainable," Salguero said.

Presently, SCoPSA has already established 15 techno-demo farms in Regions I, II, V and VI and aims to establish 12 more sites for 2016 in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region and Northern Mindanao that will have a total of 76.8 hectares of techno-demo farms.

"As the Philippines remains self-sufficient in corn supply, to sustain its availability and production sufficiency is up to our supervision and continuous action," Salguero added. (Loraine D. Cerillo DA-BSWM)

Source: DA





Monday, March 21, 2016

100M WORTH OF BIODEGRADABLE COMPOSTING FACILITIES TO BENEFIT 172 QUALIFIED RECIPIENTS



    The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) through the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) allocated 100M budget worth of Composting Facilities for Biodegradable Wastes (CFBW) units to 172 qualified recipients to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Local Government Units (LGUs)  in terms of sorting, collecting and composting their community wastes and to lessen the dependence of the farmers to commercial fertilizers.

    CFBW and Small Scale Composting Facilities (SSCFs) are the two composting facilities being distributed by the BSWM to promote organic agriculture with BSWM being the DA’s national focal coordinating agency.

    According to BSWM Director and the NOAP National Coordinator, Dr. Silvino Q. Tejada, the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) reported that there are 4,0087.46 tons of projected waste generation nationwide per day.  Considering the large amount of biodegradable wastes coming from city and town markets and residences, there is a need to set-up facilities near markets, trading posts and residential areas that will convert those wastes into organic fertilizers/compost which could be used by farmers and other interested groups.

    "We have been facing serious problems regarding proper management of waste disposal throughout the country. The Agriculture Department conducts researches to improve soil and water conditions that have been taken care of by the BSWM through the years. We keenly see to it that while we attain food sufficiency,
we are not leaving behind the line the importance of food safety," .

    Furthermore, to capacitate the stakeholders of the project, BSWM recently conducted a three-day Capacity Enhancement on the operations of CFBW held at the  Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) Farm School in Las PiƱas City. The pilot training program was attended by at least 60 representatives that are composed of City Agriculturists, Municipal Agricultural Officers and LGU representatives nationwide.

    In an interview with representatives from Region I, one of the attendees of the training, City Agricultural Officer Elmer V. Santiago underscored the importance of the in-vessel composting facility in terms of waste disposal management, promoting good agricultural practices through organic farming and environmental protection by bringing back the residues to the soils.

    "This capacity enhancement activity can give us more idea on how we can operate the facility to benefit more farmers in the community and the Local Government of Laoag as well. We are also looking forward to learn new technologies that perhaps be introduced to us by the end of this training" Santiago added.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization also cited that composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household per year from local collection authorities.
    CFBW can process 1-2 tons of biodegradable collected wastes and can produce 500kg organic fertilizer/compost in a span of two weeks. Through the establishment of these facilities, rural and urban communities are expected to improve their net income, reduce production cost and promote environmental protection through the use of organic fertilizers/composts produced from biodegradable community wastes.

    The DA implements the NOAP in support to the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 or RA 10068 which was authored by DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala.
    February this year, the BSWM completed its delivery of 83 CFBWs worth 49M nationwide.

    "Our country is now being recognized all over Asia in terms of organic farming, reaching our targeted increase of 5% hectares devoted to organic farming out of the total agricultural land area is what we have to work for this year," Tejada added.
   









Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Agricultural Time Bomb




Part 1



Much has been said about the last 30 years. Especially when looking in hindsight on all that has happened after EDSA 1986. Everything is clearer and 20/20 in hindsight. But let us make an effort to really make it clear. There has been economic growth but it is claimed that it is not “inclusive”. The answer is yes, that it has not been inclusive when considering that 60% of those who live in poverty belong in the rural areas where agriculture is the main industry. But it is also our responsibility to look further than 30 years. What are the yokes that continue to burden the agricultural sector and more importantly what are the effects that continue to pose as real dangers to the economy until today.



More than 30 years ago, the real drivers of Philippine agriculture were 2 industries. The sugar industry and the coconut industry, the sugar industry is considered comatose and the coconut industry is not only on its death throes but also hangs as a Damocles Sword over the head of the Philippine economy.



Here is why.



The coco-levy fund has been part of the headlines during the past week due to the stand of a presidential candidate with regards to its disposition but also has undercurrents because of the main supporter of that candidate.



Far – reaching consequences

                The way this issue is resolved may have unintended and far – reaching consequences on the value of other coco levy assets apart from the San Miguel preferred shares, the health and stability of the entire financial system, the finances of the government and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) and the sustainability of the recent growth in the economy.


                UCPB and Cocolife each claim 11% ownership in the block of San Miguel preferred shares which were the subject of the January 2012 ruling. UCPB and Cocolife themselves are coco levy assets whose ownership government  claims – 95% in the case of UCPB and 100% in the case of Cocolife.


                The relationship between the San Miguel shares, UCPB, Cocolife, the ongoing litigation on these assets, PDIC, government action on these assets can have on the financial system and economy is complex.


                However, because the impact of government actions on these assets is so far – reaching, this complexity must be taken into account in deciding what action to take.


Two options   


                Two potential, mutually exclusive options, which would maintain the current (pre – Supreme Court ruling) financial position of UCPB and Cocolife, while to a lesser extent meeting other government objectives.


                The first involves maintaining the status quo and recognizing UCPB and Cocolife’s proprietary claims over the San Miguel preferred shares.


                The second does not recognize these claims and involves a government entity investing new equity into both UCPB and Cocolife, equivalent in value to their respective claims on the San Miguel preferred shares.


                Both options will require further legal study, and neither is without its risks. This  also describes the expected cost to government if, due to circumstances beyond its control, government were to have to provide extraordinary financial assistance to UCPB for the latter to retain depositor confidence.


Background


1.       There is no single entity, which is the owner of record of all of the various assets often referred to as coco levy assets. From the inception of the coco levy in the 1970s, various institutions were created to use the coco levy funds to acquire various assets, which in turn also used coco levy funds acquire other assets. Thus, there are complex and interlocking ownership relationships between these assets.


2.       There are two layers of companies through which the beneficial ownership of the San Miguel preferred shares is held the six oil mills and 14 holding companies.


a.       100% of the equity of the six oil mills is held by three entities:


                           i.      78% by UCPB not in it own capacity but in a trustee capacity, as Administrator for the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (a government institution)


                             ii.      11% by UCPB in its own capacity


                             iii.      11% by Cocolife in its own capacity.


b.      The six oil mills in turn own 100% of the equity of the fourteen holding companies.


c.       The 14 holding companies in turn, collectively own the San Miguel preferred shares.


3.       UCPB and Cocolife both claim that their 11% beneficial ownership of the oil mills (and thus, the holding companies and San Miguel preferred shares) was acquired through the use of their own corporate funds, not through coco levy funds.


The share certificates in the oil mills were issued in the name of UCPB and Cocolife.


In UCPB’s case, share certificates for 78% of the ownership of the oil mills issued in the name of “UCPB as Administrator of the CIIF” and 11% in the name of “UCPB  as Universal Bank” to distinguish between the two different capacities in which it holds shares in the oil mills.


For reasons we do not know, neither UCPB nor Cocolife, nor PCGG or any other government agency, took legal steps to protect Sandigangbayan’s ruling on the ownership of the then San Miguel common shares already raised the possibility that these assets may not be theirs in their individual capacities.


4.       Government claims ownership, and exercises ownership rights (because of their sequestration by PCGG) of about 91% of the shares in UCPB.


Government’s claims, however, are spread over different blocks of shares, with several registered owners, and the subject of various court cases in different stages of adjudication.


a.       68% has been adjudicated in favour of government; in the same January 2012 Supreme Court ruling as the one on the San Miguel preferred shares. This 68% can be further broken down into:


                    i.            26% held in the name of individual farmers


                 ii.         42% held in the name of the six oil mills (the same ones through which the San Miguel preferred shares are held).


b.      9% held in the name of Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and associated companies.


c.       14% held in the name of various other individuals and companies, including Cocolife.


Government does not claim ownership of 9% of privately owned shares in UCPB.


5.  Government claims ownership of 100% of Cocolife. These shares are not sequestered, and have not yet been adjudicated in favour of government.


As with UCPB, government’s claims are spread over different blocks of shares, with different registered owners:


a.  47% held in the name of UCPB not in its own capacity but in a truste4e capacity, as Administrator of the CIIF – exactly the same as in the case of the oil mills and San Miguel preferred shares described above. Government votes these shares.


b.      8% in the name of individual farmers.


c.       45% in the name of various other individuals and companies.


6.       Government claims ownership of UCPB and Cocolife for exactly the same reason, and in exactly the same way, as it claims ownership over the oil mills, holding companies, and San Miguel preferred shares: these are coco levy assets.

Government claim that 91% of the shares in UCPB, and 100% of the shares in Cocolife issued in the same of the entities mentioned in previous paragraphs above, were acquired using coco levy funds.


UCPB, Cocolife must remain viable


Thus, it is government’s responsibility to ensure that UCPB and Cocolife remain financially viable, and that their value is maximized so as to raise as much proceeds from their eventual privatization as possible, in support of the purposes identified by the Task Force on the Coco Levy.


Furthermore, as the entity, which controls UCPB and Cocolife in practice, through its appointment of both institutions’ boards of directors, governments is accountable for the financial performance of both entities.


7.       UCPB is in a unique and difficult financial situation.

This situation came about under government’s watch, as government has exercised control over UCPB since 1986.


UCPB given P12B by PDIC while gov’t deposited P30B


        Without the extraordinary measures put in place by the PDIC, BSP, and the national government itself, most recently in 2009, UCPB would cease to operate. These measures include:


a.    PDIC financial support of P12 billion, which the bank must either repay over time or convert into preferred shares and later, common shares.


b.   Government deposits of P30 billion,


c.    Special regulatory treatment by the BSP, in effect:


                   i.      Allowing the PDIC financial support to be counted as capital for the purposes of complying with regulatory requirements.


                 ii.      Allowing UCPB to temporarily not recognize about P28 billion in losses, again so that UCPB would appear to comply with regulatory requirements.


                iii.      Exempting UCPB from certain financial penalties for non – compliance with certain regulatory requirements.


8. These measures have been put in place, at significant financial risk particularly to PDIC and the government, and contrary to BSP’s usual practice, because UCPB is a large financial institution whose closure would have negative systematic implications on the health and stability of the financial system as well as the overall economy.


As of 2012, UCPB has 183 branches and over 500,000 depositors. It has the ninth largest amount of deposits, and twelfth largest amount of assets among banks in the Philippines.. Of its P157 billion in deposits, P37.6 billion is guaranteed by PDIC.


Implications of the Supreme Court ruling


9. If the San Miguel preferred shares which UCPB claims ownership of in its proprietary capacity were to be removed from its balance sheet without compensation – as is the implication of one of the options presented by the Task Force – this would result in UCPB’s capital adequacy ratio falling below required levels, and would be grounds for the BSP to place the bank under prompt corrective action, receivership and eventual closure.


Apart from the systematic risk this would pose to the financial system and economy at large, UCPB’s closure could have the following financial consequences:


a.    PDIC would have to spend up to P37.6 billion to pay out guaranteed deposits (deposits below P500, 000).


b.   PDIC may not recover much, or all, of the P12 billion in financial supports it extended to UCPB.


c.    The recovery by government of the P30 billion in deposits in UCPB would be uncertain, and at any rate, would take years.


d.   The recovery by private depositors of deposits above the P500, 000 guarantee limit would be uncertain, and at any rate, would take years. We estimate this amount at P88 billion.


UCPB future


10.   Even before the Supreme Court ruling of January 2012, it was government’s plan to eventually privatize UCPB.


The bank’s weak financial positions, and the unresolved ownership status of its shares, have been the main obstacles to its being privatized.


 The January 2012 Supreme Court ruling, which affirmed an earlier Sandiganbayan ruling awarding ownership of 65% of UCPB’s shares to the government, is a step forward in enabling government to privatize the bank, but it is not yet final and executory.


 However, it is all but certain that the PDIC financial support will eventually be converted into common shares, which will account for 89% of UCPB’s common shares.


Gov’t ownership in UCPB will be diluted


 What is now a 100% stake in UCPB will thus be diluted to an 11% stake in UCPB.


 We do not yet know what this will be worth, and whether PDIC will be able to recover its P12 billion in its entirety, much less what the 95% stake claimed by government in the common shares of UCPB will be worth when it becomes a 10.5% stake.


 However, if UCPB is closed before this can happen, what is certain is that the 95% stake claimed by government in the current common shares of UCPB will be worth nothing, and PDIC may not recover much on its P12 billion financial support.

It is important to acknowledge, however, that the value of the shares in UCPB claimed by government will almost certainly be, under even the most optimistic scenario, less than the value of the 11% share claimed by UCPB in the San Miguel preferred shares.
 
Cocolife financially healthy


11.   Unlike UCPB, Cocolife is financially healthy, by the 11% of the San Miguel preferred shares it claims ownership of account for nearly half of its assets (as of end 2010).


          If these shares were to be removed from its balance sheet without compensation – as is the implication of one of the options presented by the Task Force – this would result in Cocolife’s equity falling below required levels, and may be grounds for the Insurance Commission to revoke or not renew its license.


       Cocolife has the 8th highest premium income of all life insurance companies, and is the country’s largest group insurance provider.


         Its closure would affect 2.7 million policyholders, the vast majority of them individuals, including an estimated 480, 000 farmers, and could have systematic implications to confidence and risk in the insurance industry.


12.   In determining its response to the January 2012 Supreme Court ruling, as it relates to UCPB, the government must balance several goals, some of which are contradictory.


a.  As an overarching goal, to maintain confidence in the stability of the banking system. In specific terms, to at least maintain UCPB’s financial position as it was prior to the Supreme Court ruling – in particular its capital adequacy ratio should be at least 10% in compliance with BSP, and thus minimize the risk of depositors losing confidence in the bank.


b.To protect the government’s financial exposure to UCPB:


                 i.      To ensure the safety of the P30 billion in government deposits into the bank.


                     ii.      To maximize the recovery of PDIC’s P12 billion capital notes in the bank.


c. To establish government’s claims, on behalf of the coconut farmers, on the entire block of San Miguel preferred shares held by the six oil mills and 14 holding companies , including the 11% of these which UCPB claims to own in its proprietary capacity and not in trust for the coconut farmers.


13.   Government’s goals, as the Supreme Court ruling relates to Cocolife, are similar:


a. To maintain confidence in the stability of the insurance industry. In specific terms, to at least maintain Cocolife’s financial position as it was prior to the Supreme Court ruling.

In particular, its margin of solvency should be at least P23.4 billion (as of end 2010), and its equity at least P250 million, in compliance with Insurance Commission regulations. 


This will avoid Cocolife being subject to adverse regulatory action by the insurance commission, and thus minimize the risk of policyholders losing confidence in the company.


b. To establish government’s claims, on behalf of the coconut farmers, on the entire block of San Miguel preferred shares held by the six oil mills and 14 holding companies, including the 11% of these which UCPB claims to own in its proprietary capacity and not in trust for the coconut farmers.


 Next Issue: Options



Source: Department of Finance  Documents











Tuesday, March 15, 2016

17 Units of Composting Facilities Awarded in Central Luzon


The Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM), in collaboration with the VillarSipag Foundation recently awarded 17 units of composting facilities for biodegradable wastes (CFBW) to farmers’ groups in Orani, Bataan to promote the use of organic inputs and bio-fertilizers in rice and high value crops production.

The awarding ceremony held at Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark, Pampangawas attended by 350 participants composed of officials and representatives from local government units (LGUs), officials of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) Management Office, concerned government offices and farmers’groups.

In September 2015, the BSWM collaborated with the Villar SIPAG Foundation to orient LGU recipients on CFBW.

According to BSWM Executive Director and NOAP National Coordinator Silvino Tejada, out of 83 units of CFBW to be delivered, 38 units of community-based composting facilities have already been established in Cordillera Province, Ilocos Region, CALABARZON, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern and Central Mindanao, while the remaining 45 units will be completely delivered within the month of February 2016.

Orani, Bataan municipal agriculturist Arturo Matias said more than 800 farmers will benefit in the establishment of the composting facilities in their municipality and the use of the organic inputs will mean less expenses for the farmers.

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson Sen. Cynthia Villar, meanwhile, said organic farming is one way of promoting sustainable agriculture wherein farmers get to produce their own fertilizers with the use of available biodegradable farm inputs.

"Ito po ang tinatawag nating sustainable agriculture at agro-ecology, kung saan hindi niyonabibilhin ang inyong gagamiting fertilizer, bagkus kayo na mismo ang nagpo-produce on your own. This is what we are promoting, sustainable agriculture, through the establishment of these facilities in your community wherein you can produce one to two tons of organic fertilizer a month," she added.

“Considering that large amounts of biodegradable wastes come from markets and residences, there is a need to set-up composting facilities near markets, trading posts and residential areas that will convert those wastes into organic fertilizers/compost which could be used by farmers,” Tejada said.

In 2000, the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act was enacted and through this law, the use of environmentally-sound methods was put in place as a state policy to minimize the utilization of valuable resources and promote resource conservation and recovery where LGUs are deemed responsible for the implementation of the law.

The municipality-wide utilization of the CFBW under the supervision of the DA-BSWM which will be monitored by the LGUsis expected to help farmers and communities improve garbage disposal via proper segregation of wastes, and also promote sustainable agriculture while producing safer food.

"This is a continuing activity of BSWM and DA-Regional Field Offices to strengthen the institutional capacity of LGUs, farmers' organizations and all stakeholders to promote and promulgate organic agriculture throughout the country," Tejada concluded. (Loraine Cerillo, BSWM)

Photo credits: DA-BSWM Training Information and Dissemination
Section





DA-BSWM promotes biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices

SEATED (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) Ms Charo Ampil (DA-PRS), Dr. Edna Samar (DA-BSWM), Mr. Ben-Hur Viloria (BPP-PMU), Assistant Regional Director Maria Febe Orbe (Region XI) and BPP-TWG Chairman Engr. Samuel Contreras during the 2-Day Consultative Workshop on Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAP) along with other participants from the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Davao Oriental, DENR XI, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Agricultural Research, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-XI),DA-Regional Field Office- XI (DA-RFO II) held at the at Rose Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.

The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) recently participated in a two-day consultative workshop on Biodiversity-Friendly Agricultural Practices (BDFAPs), as one of the active agencies promoting environmental protection and conservation, at the Rose Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.

BSWM Director Silvino Q. Tejada underscored the impacts of mismanagement of agricultural lands and the environment to biodiversity and that therefore, appropriate methods and technologies of good farming practices should be advocated.

"We have lost the popularity of traditional farming practices with the advent of mono-culture to produce specific crops with high demand. That is why soil and water conservation is continuously being promoted by BSWM. We see to it that farmers learn new farming methods and technologies to improve agriculture while ensuring that the existence of equally important living organisms are not being compromised" said Tejada.

The event was conducted by DA together with DA-Policy Research Services, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Bureau of Agricultural Research and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as implementing partners of Biodiversity Partnership Program (BPP) of the DENR.

As author of principles, BDFAPs seek to balance production targets while conservation of the natural resources and protection of the environment for the benefit of the future generations is being promoted.

BDFAPs refer to the pattern of farming and fishing decisions and actions that sustainably utilize and conserve biological diversity and its components to satisfy the increasing human needs and to improve livelihood in rural areas while addressing the threats that confront biodiversity.

Moreover, biodiversity-friendly agriculture practice incorporates considerations such as the enhancement of natural plant defense mechanism, soil management- organic soil amendments, use of cover crops, crop rotation, and use disease resistant cultivars that are being pushed by the Agriculture Department.

Several biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices were already established and being adopted by farmers such as the integrated farming system, the use of organic inputs like vermi-compost to agricultural farms, watershed management cum rice terracing, mulching in ratoon and organic farming in sugarcane farms, sustainable upland farming, establishment of marine protected areas and the culture of milkfish using 100 percent organic feeds.

These agricultural practices are not only considered beneficial among biological entities but also a contributing factor to economic stability by reducing the dependence of farmers to chemical fertilizers and is seen to provide potential income by way of long-term soil fertility through natural systems.

In addition, farmers can also manage to have two cropping per year because of abundant water supply through watershed management practice.

According to Engr. Samuel Contreras, Chief of Soil Conservation and Management Division of BSWM and DA-BPPTWG Chairman, these farming practices will uphold the balance in production and conservation that are mutually dependent to sustainable management of agricultural lands and environmental protection.

"Promoting Biodiversity Agricultural Practices not only encompasses environmentally-sound methods to guard other living organisms that share lands and other means to survive with man, this is also our calling to propagate these farming conservation measures, practices and management to reach farmer and fisher folks along with other stakeholders throughout the country," Contreras underlined. (Loraine D. Cerillo, DA-BSWM)





Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Department of Agriculture Intensifies El Nino Mitigation




The Department of Agriculture (DA) is intensifying its campaign to mitigate the effects of El Nino among the most affected. The stakeholders include farmers, fisherfolks, fishpond operators and livestock raisers.

The DA turned over projects under the Bottom-Up-Budgeting Program together with Php53.1 million assistance package from the DA and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as part of its El Nino mitigation measures.

The beneficiaries came from the province of Pampanga which is one of the hardest affected by the phenomenon. At the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center where the summit was held Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said “We are providing assistance to you to help you recover from your losses and enable you to continue your production, but we are also looking for viable long-term solutions to this dilemma,”.

Alcala disclosed that  in some provinces of the country, cloud seeding sorties are regularly conducted to induce artificial rain. “Sa Mindanao po, matagumpay ang ipinapatupad nating cloud seeding sa pakikipagtulungan ng Local Government. Sa katunayan po, may mga nararanasan ng pag-ulan sa ilang lalawigan doon,” Alcala said.

A total of 2 units hand tractor with trailer, 12 heads carabaos with plow and harrow, 50 bags urea, 15 units grasscutter, 5 units knapsack sprayer, 15 units transistor radio and 10 x 30,000 tilapia fingerlings were given away.






Tuesday, March 1, 2016

All Set for SIPAG FIESTA March 2 – 4, 2016


SIPAG FIESTA will showcase the best of technologies from the country’s research and development institutions on agri-aqua concerns. The technologies would include; carrageenan plant growth regulator (CPGR); Coconut somatic embryogenesis; Swione genomics, Shrimp biofloc technology, Smarter agrigulture, Improved Lakatan varieties resistant to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and Cavendish resistant to Fusarium Wilt, Rice Mechanization and Asexual reproduction of corals for transplantation.

CPGR, which is extracted from seaweeds using gamma radiation, when applied at low concentrations in rice, enhances its yield by 15–30% in multi-location trials conducted in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, and Iloilo.

Coconut somatic embryogenesis or CSet, allows the mass production of more pest and disease-resistant coconuts of superior quality from one to 1,000 plantlets per plumule by using explants from high yielding tall and dwarf coconut varieties.

Swine genomics has increased pigs produced per sow per year by 4.6 piglets, which is equivalent to an additional 460 kilograms of hog liveweight or a 25―30% increase in pork production without increasing the breeder pig population. This was made possible by the development of sixteen gene marker protocols associated to high litter size, fast growth rate, meat qualities, and screening of genetic defects and disease resistance.

Smarter Agriculture technology provides farmers and decision makers with a decision support system in dealing with the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector using advances in S&T. As of 2015, the program has already produced outputs in terms of technologies, systems, data products, and networks or linkages.

Lastly, shrimp biofloc technology reduces shrimp’s reliance on protein from feeds; improves shrimp’s nutrition as the technology enhances feed conversion ratio, resulting in larger shrimps; and enhances shrimp’s immune system. The technology uses a microbial mat composed of aggregates of bacteria, algae, protozoa, detritus, and dead organic particles that help control the natural microbial activity in aquaculture ponds.

“We at DOST value media’s huge help in disseminating these technologies. Surely, you have always been instrumental in relaying the good news. More importantly, we continue to enrol your assistance in changing mind sets and in creating a culture of science in the larger sectors of society,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo in his message read by Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro.

Source: DOST-PCAARRD







 

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