To ensure stable supply of vegetables in Bicol, the Department of Agriculture High Value Crops Development Program (DA HVCDP) is promoting the season long production technology. Using science-based processes like soil testing, seed selection, and proper timing of cultivation, this technology is considered as one of the best options to boost farm income.

Through the season long production technology, farmers are guaranteed with year-round employment, higher tonnage per unit production of off-season vegetables, as well as higher profits.

As one of the DA banner programs charged to promote the production, processing, marketing and distribution of high value crops, the DA HVCDP is providing interventions like agricultural inputs, machinery and equipment to farmer associations. The Program also spearheads the establishment of seed derby in collaboration with various vegetable seed companies to showcase their packages of season long production technologies, the second of which was conducted recently featuring dry season vegetable production technologies in time for the Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month celebration in May 2022.

A total of 16 seeds, seedling distributor and chemical companies participated in the 2nd Vegetable Seed Derby and Harvest Festival to showcase their technologies and best practices for evaluation and promotion. A field tour at the 3,500 square-meter demonstration area also served as an avenue to encourage farmers and the agricultural extension workers (AEWs) to adopt and promote the technology as well as strengthen the collaboration and partnership among stakeholders of the vegetable industry.

DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla urged the farmer-participants to take the opportunity to access the packages of technology offered by the private companies.

“Nag-develop ning technology an satuyang partner sa private sector. Pero pa’no ta ‘yan maa-access? Iyo na po ini an pagkakataon. Mahihiling na nindo kung ano an mga produkto na yaon dyan. Kung ano ang pinagmamalaki kang mga private companies na ini na puwede nindang i-offer sa satuya na makakadagdag kan satuyang ani saka satuyang kita. Bako lang ining istorya, mahihiling na talaga nindo,” Tornilla said.

He underscored that the farmers’ feedback is essential to facilitate precise planning, particularly in identifying appropriate DA interventions to the vegetable growers in the region.

Farmer-Director Bernadette B. De los Santos lauded this initiative of the DA saying “This project of the Department of Agriculture is very appropriate to inspire us, farmers to grow more vegetables—better varieties that could withstand the effect of climate change on us farmers.” She also thanked the seed companies for developing quality options to choose from.

DA-Bicol Field Operations Division Chief and Regional HVCDP Coordinator Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez echoed Farmer-Director De los Santos’ expression of gratitude to the participating seed and chemical companies and seedling distributors. She also acknowledged the 14 Farm and Fisheries Consolidation and Clustering (F2C2) Program beneficiaries in the region who joined the activity.

Meanwhile, Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) Provincial Officer Christopher M. Nuñez lectured on Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS) Program: FPA Commitment on OneDA Approach. The Regional Agricultural Engineering Division (RAED), REB-Greentech Systems Enterprises, Brixton Construction and Industrial Supply Corp., and GRJC Agri Industrial Machineries also demonstrated the use of the multi-lifting machine, soil auger, bubbler, and sprayer.

Moreover, DA HVCDP turned over 12 units of Pump Irrigation System from Open Source (PISOS) and five units of multicultivator to 17 clustered associations from Ligao City and Polangui in Albay; San Vicente, Labo, and Talisay in Camarines Norte; Libmanan, Lupi, and Pili in Camarines Sur and Caramoran, Cataingan and Virac in Catanduanes.

Furthermore, DA HVCDP raffled off 40 sets of garden tools, 50 pieces of laminated sacks, five units of wheel barrow, 10 units of knapsack sprayer, five rolls of water hose, and one unit of brush cutter, power sprayer, and mist blower.

In her Closing Remarks DA-Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations Luz R. Marcelino thanked the seed companies and vegetable growers for their participation. She also reminded the farmers that technologies are location-specific.

The first Vegetable Production Technology Demonstration Seed Derby and Harvest Festival was conducted on October 8, 2021. It showcased off-season vegetable production technologies in a 0.25 hectare area inside the DA compound.

Data from the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) shows that Bicol has a total of 40,686 HVCDP farmers. Masbate has the most number of HVCDP farmers with 15,125 while Albay ranks next with 7,907. In Camarines Sur, there are 6,271 RSBSA-registered HVCDP farmers, 5,094 in Sorsogon, 3,328 in Camarines Norte, and 2,961 in Catanduanes. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V, with reports from Renato D. Acasio and Marilene M. Dimaculangan, DA RFO V HVCDP)