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A focus group discussion (FGD) on highland vegetable was conducted at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Conference Hall in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet on February 27, 2018.
This was attended by representatives from the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU)-Benguet, Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU)-Bakun, MLGU-Mankayan; and farmer representatives from Cabacab Brethren Farmers Association (CBFA), Kapangan Adult Young Organization (KAYO), Bosigan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMPC), Mankayan Young Farmers Organization (MYFO), and Manpat-a Farmers Organization (MFO).
The said activity aimed to identify critical issues and technological gaps; and, establish priority thrusts and strategic directions on postharvest affecting high value crops particularly highland vegetables.
“Improper postharvest handling of high value commodities often results in quality deterioration and significant economic losses,” said Ms. Joan D. Bacbac, Regional Focal Person, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). “Postharvest losses for vegetables vary between 20-50% depending on the handling and distribution chain. Furthermore, it is reported that an estimated value of 9-16% of produce is lost due to postharvest problems during shipment and handling,” she added.
Thus, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) initiated the activity to ensure the relevance of their programs to high value crops.
In addition, the FGD outputs will be used to come up with an updated framework and a coherent RDE Agenda for high value commercial development crops (HVCDC) such as fruits, root crops, among others and most especially highland vegetables.// Karen T. Gawigawen
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“Today’s generation and those that come after them must learn to love and learn to grow their own food”.
The advice came from Department of Agriculture-CAR Narciso A. Edillo, during his talk to the people on the occasion of Agro-Industrial Trade Fair, on the first day of the 10th staging of the Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian Festival in Tadian, Mountain Province with the theme “Nurturing Children’s values towards heritage perpetuation and progress”.
Edillo said that with the advance modern technologies, we can easily access what we need and want. “Everything is becoming instant especially the food we eat,” he added.
“It is our responsibility to ensure the future of our children. The future of agriculture would be horrible if we don’t guide our children to love and study agriculture. What will happen to them and who will feed them after us if we do not do this now,” Edillo further explained.
With the current statistics which shows that farmers are at the retirement age, he challenged the people of Tadian to start engaging the youth in agriculture to ensure that there would be someone to produce food for them in the future.
To meet this objective, he advised the political leaders to pass local ordinances that integrates agriculture in the elementary and high school curriculum in the community.
“Our intention is to go back and love agriculture because our country still remains as an agricultural county. It’s good to dream to become industrial but for a while, we need to focus on teaching the next generation how to farm in order to live,” Edillo said.
In pursuit of the agenda of President Duterte to ensure that there is available and affordable food for every Filipino family, Edillo further discussed the programs of the Department of Agriculture that could help in boosting the agricultural industry of the municipality.
He encouraged them to attend trainings, avail of interventions such as small water impounding project or SWIP to aid in irrigating the farms, taking advantage of seed subsidy and buffer stocks in cases of calamity. Also, he encouraged them to improve mechanization by adapting appropriate technologies or techniques suitable in the area to increase production such as corporate rice farming.
Edillo also promised to support the vision of establishing the Western Mountain Province Research and Development Center (WESCORD) in Tadian to strengthen research in the municipality which he believe is necessary in advancing agriculture and rural development in the area.
Meanwhile, Edillo encouraged the farmers of Tadian to plant white corn flint as a healthy staple food other than rice, in support to the campaign of the DA for rice self-sufficiency and to avoid huge importation of rice.// Rebecca Dibdiben