ABRA DE ILOG, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO—Farmers here are jubilant after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) introduced a new yellow corn variety that yields more fruit and is a lot cheaper to grow.
Regional Director Erlinda Pearl Armada said that “aside from rice, corn is another major crop grown by our farmer-beneficiaries here. We introduced a new corn variety endorsed by the Department of Agriculture that is guaranteed to help farmers earn more.”
Under the DAR’s Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS), the department tapped 30 farmers of the Armado-Cabacao Farmers’ Marketing Cooperative (ACAFARMCO) in Abra de Ilog, to become farmer-technicians of the new corn breed called the open-pollinated variety (OPV) of yellow corn.
According to Armada, prior to the introduction of the OPV, farmers plant the corn variety called GMO or genetically modified organisms (also called BT-corn), which is not only expensive to buy but also produces less corn than the OPV.
Based on studies made by crop specialists hired by ARCCESS, the use of OPV will decrease the cost of seed procurement by 90 percent.
Crop specialist Dr. Rafael Barroso said that the OPV is a non-GMO seed. “The OPV is a much better variety because the corn seeds are produced through a natural process called open-pollination. It is a natural and safer process as opposed to the GMO which uses genetically modified organism to produce corn seeds and is therefore more expensive and not natural,” explains Barroso.
Barroso said that introduction of the OPV “reduced the cost of buying seeds from P12,000.00 to P2,000.00 per hectare, a clear savings of P11,000.00 for the farmer.”
To prove the OPV’s superiority over the GMO, the DAR utilized the one-hectare farm of Luis Latic, a farmer-beneficiary and one of the 30 farmer-technicians of ACAFARMCO, as a demo-farm. The demo-farm served as the learning laboratory venue for the 30 farmers.
By harvest time, Latic’s one-hectare demo-farm produced 87 cavans of OPV corn instead of the usual 54 cavans using GMO (BT-corn) seeds.
“I can’t believe my corn yield was this bountiful. With BT-corn I spend P56,000.00 on production cost and it will yield only 57 cavans. With OPV, I only spent P42,000.00 and it produced 87 cavans of corn. Amazing!” gushed Latic.
Convinced of the advantages of using the OPV of yellow corn, the 30 farmers pledged to useOPV in their corn fields in October.
“We have successfully proven to our 30 farmer-technicians of ACAFARMCO the benefits of using OPV of yellow corn. Now it’s their turn to transfer what they have learned and witnessed in the demo-farm to convince other farmers here,” said Armada.
The next planting season will start on October.