Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Co-ops can help boost farm productivity–PhilRice

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Agricultural cooperatives are effective motivators for farmers to adopt farming technologies to boost their farm productivity, according to a recent study conducted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
The study, titled “Agricultural cooperatives: Key partners in technology promotion and rural development,” was conducted by a PhilRice research group.
“What makes agricultural cooperatives unique is that they have a unified action to become viable, while helping individual members improve. When the cooperative is able to prove that a specific technology is efficient, it is certain that the farmer-members will adopt it in a sustainable manner,”  Christian Flor Guittap said in a statement.
The PhilRice research group introduced various farm technologies to Lupao, Nueva Ecija-based Parista Barangay Defense System Multipurpose Cooperative (PBDS-MPC) in 2014, to determine the efficacy of the said cooperative in promoting, evaluating and adopting farm technologies in their respective community.
“During our discussion with PBDS-MPC, we found that the cooperative practices conventional farming such that its members do not use quality rice seeds and other technologies, and apply fertilizers without assessing their soil needs,” Guittap said. Among the farming technologies introduced by PhilRice to PBDS-MPC were  use of certified seeds, Minus One Element Technique (MOET), leaf color chart (LCC), and integrated pest management and rice-based farming systems.
MOET is a diagnostic tool to determine deficiency of key nutrients in paddy soil, while LCC assesses nitrogen status of rice plants which can save farmers of up P2,000 per hectare in nitrogen-fertilizer use, according to PhilRice.
At least 46 farmers, or 78 percent, of the 59 farmer-members of PBDS-MPC who participated in the research project adopted the technologies promoted by the PhilRice research project during the 2015 wet season and 2016 dry season, PhilRice said.
“This percentage equates to high level of adoption. In 2016 DS, we also found that 73 percent of the participating co-op members achieved an average yield increase of 0.5 ton per hectare, while 22 percent of farmers attained more than 1 ton per hectare, increase in yield,” said Joel Pascual, head of the said PhilRice study.
Ferdinand C. Orate, PBDS-MPC farmer-cooperator, said his harvest increased by 40 percent when he used the rice variety NSIC RC308 endorsed by PhilRice.
“Along the banks and dikes, I also tried planting cash crops, such as saluyot, string beans and okra, that we now sell in  Lupao market,” Orate said.
Dr. Aurora Corales, project lead of the PhilRice study, said the partnership with the cooperative empowered farmers toward community welfare.
“This model may serve as a guide in implementing developmental activities, promoting location-specific rice and rice-based technologies to improve farmers’ lives,” Corales said.

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