Technology Transfer Sustains Rice-Sufficiency Status in Ilocos

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - An P18-million farming technology transfer project in Ilocos Norte has enabled Ilocos to sustain its rice-sufficient region status and contributed significantly to national food security.

Called "Strengthening the Extension Delivery System" (SEDS) in Ilocos Norte, the technology transfer or extension project implemented over a seven-year period was budgeted by the provincial government.

The project cost was broken down as follows: P3.5 million in 2004; P2.78 million, 2005; P3.27 million, 2006; P2 million, 2007; P2.067 million, 2008; P2.15 million, 2009; and P2.46 million, 2010.

The Ilocos Norte local government unit (LGU) has been compelled to implement SEDS to raise the income of at least 20 percent of the 65,000 farming households whose income below the poverty threshold.

At the start of the project in 2004, the Ilocos Norte provincial agriculture office led by Norma B. Lagmay assessed first the capability of its farmers and other manpower, its available natural resources and the problems, needs, and potential of Ilocos Norte, a region known to have arid environment.

This assessment of needs and opportunities was done in two pilot barangays in each of Ilocos Norte's 23 towns and cities.

SEDS deployed 23 agricultural technicians that also trained core trainers in the 23 towns and cities with the University of the Philippines Institute of Community Education as training institution.

Opportunities lie in the region's existing infrastructures such as the Currimao Seaport and Laoag International Airport; vast tracts of agricultural lands, and proximity to export markets (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Singapore), although there is insufficient irrigation and limited financing.

SEDS implemented an organic-based farming system - Tipid Abono technology for rice, modified rapid composting, bio-intensive gardening, organic fertilizer production, and trichogramma production. Other technologies the farmers learned are mango bagging for fruit protection from diseases, crop production techniques through a 16-week Farmers Field School, grafting for mango seedlings, and even food processing systems as bangus deboning. …