MMSU to continue as a great leverage for DA’s vision of a future agriculture”

BATAC CITY – “𝑅𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑐𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑣𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑢𝑚 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑠, 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑢𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑦𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑒 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑑𝑢𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑎 𝑚𝑜𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑛, 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑃ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒.”

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar stressed this in his message during the Mariano Marcos State University’s (MMSU’s) 43rd Founding Anniversary as the Guest of Honor and Speaker held at the MMSU Teatro Ilocandia, Batac City, Ilocos Norte on January 15, 2021.

According to Secretary Dar, the MMSU’s important role in furthering the country’s goal towards food security and globally competitive agri-fishery sector is truly important as it will not only develop a human capital but come up with innovations that could lead to creating the future agriculture 20-25 years from now.

“𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑀𝑀𝑆𝑈 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑜𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝐴 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑑��𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑜-𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑐 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑡,” Sec. Dar added.

Having engaged with various research and development projects to raise farm productivity while introducing new and efficient agricultural practices and technologies, Sec. Dar called on the MMSU leaders together with the Provincial Government led by Governor Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc in the operationalization of the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fishery Extension System especially in its planning and process of documentation.

“𝑀𝑀𝑆𝑈 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑦𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑚 𝑜𝑓 𝐼𝑁𝐴𝐹𝐸𝑆 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑒𝑒𝑝𝑙𝑦 𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑎𝑔𝑒, 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑡 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼𝑁𝐴𝐹𝐸𝑆 𝑠𝑢𝑐𝑐𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑑𝑒𝑙 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦,” Sec. Dar said.

Secretary Dar further underscored that with the full support of DA to the university, this vision will be transformed into action by putting up climate resilient topics, the best of technologies, and precision and digital agriculture.

MMSU is the academic counterpart of Ilocos Norte, one of the pilot provinces identified under the Province-led Agriculture and Fishery Extension System (PAFES). # # # (DA-RFO I, RAFIS)

Photo Caption: Sec. Dar expressed eagerness for more collaborative works with Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) for the attainment of DA’s mission to ensure sustainable inclusive economy that will steer towards a 2.5% growth for the agri-sector  by the end of 2021. (DA-RFO I, RAFIS)

DA sets up integrated laboratories vs. animal, plant diseases

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is strengthening its laboratory network system in its continuing fight against infectious diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF) in hogs, avian influenza (AI) in poultry, foot and mouth disease (FMD) in livestock, Panama disease in banana, and fall armyworm (FAW) in corn and onion, among others.

“We are adopting an integrated ‘OneDA’ laboratory masterplan that incorporates international bio-risk management standards and best practices on biosafety and biosecurity measures, regulations, and certifications,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar, as contained in Department Order No. 1, Series of 2021, on January 5, 2021.

The ‘OneDA’ masterplan was proposed by the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) after consultations with concerned DA national laboratories, bureaus, and regional field offices (RFOs), through the assistance of the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Secretary Dar said the plan will help prime the country’s national and regional laboratory services to tighten biosafety and biosecurity measures against plant and animal diseases, including smuggling

“This comes at an opportune time when we are elevating our concerted response against the ASF with the vigorous implementation of ‘Bantay ASF sa Barangay’ (BABay ASF) Program, that actively involves local government units (LGUs), the private sector and veterinary groups in disease detection, control, and prevention, and subsequent hog repopulation. With these laboratories, we are confident that we will win this time around,” he added.

The plan calls for the formulation of policies and approaches to either construct new ones or upgrade existing national laboratories of the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

It also includes the integrated laboratories of the DA-RFOs such as the regional animal disease diagnostic laboratory (RADDL), feed chemical analysis laboratory (FCAL), regional crop protection center (RCPC), and regional soils laboratory (RSL).

The plan further outlines key steps for making local laboratories compliant with international bio-risk management standards and best practices, such as provision and review of plans, design requirements, standards, and technical specifications.

The DA-BAI will provide technical guidance on the planning and programming of all RADDLs and FCALs, while the DA-BPI on RCPCs, and the DA-BSWM on RSLs.

The plan also serves as the basis for the construction and renovation of DA laboratories, incorporating standards set under the respective national building, electrical, “green building,” and sanitation codes.

Tasked to provide overall guidance on the project is DA undersecretary for regulations Zamzamin Ampatuan.

Last year, Secretary Dar hammered a proactive stance against emerging plant and animal diseases when he led the launch of the RADDL in Paraiso, Tarlac, committing to connect it with other DA laboratories to ably protect the country’s livestock and poultry sector.

“With these integrated ‘OneDA’ laboratories and ‘Bantay ASF ‘ program, we are confident that we can successfully manage, prevent and control ASF, and hopefully put an end to the most dreaded disease that has paralyzed the country’s billion-peso hog industry for more than a year now, and continues to threaten its demise,” the DA chief concluded. ### (Frances Mae Ramos-DA StratComms)

Agri workers in Quezon satisfied with RCEF program

Farmers and extension workers expressed contentment with the implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) in a recent consultation conducted in Agangan, Quezon.

Marvin Valle, agricultural technician, said that the seed deliveries and distribution in the wet season were well-facilitated and that inbred seed provisions were of high quality.

“Farmers and agriculturists noted that RCEF activities were well-coordinated. They also mentioned that the quality of seeds was ‘tested and proven,” he said.

Valle shared the majority of the farmer-beneficiaries were notified of the distribution schedules through text messages while senior rice growers were informed through house visits.

Farmers told implementers that NSIC Rc 160 was preferred in the wet season, while Rc 216 was favored in the dry season.

Rc 160, known for its good-eating quality, yields about 6t/ha on average and has a maximum yield of 8t/ha. It is susceptible to tungro and brown plant hopper, and resistant to stemborer and white stemborer.

Meanwhile, Rc 216 yields 6t/ha and about 10t/ha at most. It is moderately resistant to brown planthopper, green leafhopper, and stemborer.

While the inbred rice seeds are of high quality, farmers admitted the need to be reminded of the recommended farming practices through training.

Under RCEF-Rice Extension Services Program (RESP), information materials on modern rice farming were also distributed to the program beneficiaries who are enlisted in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

“I learned [better way of farming] from the materials, which improved my yield and my practices on applying fertilizer,” a farmer-participant shared.

RCEF beneficiaries also said that the technology videos aired during seed distribution were “informative, entertaining, and easy to understand.”

The RCEF-RESP, which is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, allots P1 billion fund every year for the rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, the program is a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market.

The program is implemented by DA-PhilRice (Seed & Extension Components), DA-PhilMech (Mechanization), DA-Agricultural Training Institute (Extension), TESDA (Extension), LandBank of the Philippines (Credits), and Development Bank of the Philippines (Credits). The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation. # # # (Myrtle Ann Valenzuela / DA-PhilRice)