The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was tapped by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) to survey potential areas which could be the site for its project called "Enhancing productivity through utilization of technologies in corn-based ecosystem for food security" on June 10, 2016.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Herald R. Tambal said this partnership project between the UPLB and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) would establish one techno-demo farm in the province that will diffuse and utilize agricultural mechanization technologies (AMTs) to increase productivity of farms and farmer's income in crop based farming ecosystems.
According to Dr. Rossana Marie C. Amongo, Director of the UPLB-Institute of Agricultural Engineering (IAE) and Project Team Leader, the area which will be selected as the techno-demo farm project site will be given farm machineries and facilities such as tractor, corn planter/seeder, hand tractor, automatic fertilizer applicator, corn sheller, corn mill, drying technology, green housing, circulating aqua-culture system, storage system, water sprinkler and drip water system.
“As part of the community participatory approach, mentoring and monitoring system of the project, the UPLB and DEBESEMSCAT will provide technical capability trainings to the organization that will be chosen as the partner-implementer. The project will be implemented in a 10 hectare-land for two cropping seasons,” Amongo said.
"In selecting the project area we take into consideration the willingness of the organization/corn farmers to help in the project implementation; full cooperation in the research and application of the technology; and of course sufficiency of water supply in the area. We will only select one from the many areas that we surveyed in Masbate,” explained Amongo.
One of the areas surveyed is the Lantangan Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) in Mandaon, Masbate. It is an ARC within a corn cluster area that has 328 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) and an Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organization (ARBO) called Lantangan People's Organization (LAPO) composed of 180 members.
During the site inspection in Lantangan, the DAR, led by Tambal, assisted the research team of UPLB and DEBESEMSCAT in the conduct of ocular inspection, project orientation and interview of at least ten corn farmers in the community.
"This would be a milestone in Lantangan ARC's history if it will be selected as the project site. The UPLB-CHED project would be a great complement to the heavy tractor and the two units of corn shellers and corn huskers that were given by DAR's ARCCESS program to LAPO last year," Tambal said with high hopes. (Ross Aguilar Lustestica)