BANQUEROHAN, LEGAZPI CITY—The Regional Dairy Production and Technology Center of the Department of Agriculture-Bicol conducted the Soybean Farmers’ Field Day at the Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center (DBAMTC) here last September  20, 2018.

According to researcher Eleanor Escurel, Filipinos are the least consumers of soybeans compared to the Japanese despite its promotion in the 1980s when the Philippine Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development funded the program in the province of Sorsogon.

Soybean is considered the wonder crop of the century because of its many benefits and potential in the market. It has high protein content of 35-40% and improves the fertility of the soil because it adds nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil.

Soybean is still a new commodity to majority of the Bicolano Farmers. DA-Bicol started production of soybean in 2013 through the Bureau of Agricultural Research. Our local processors import 98% of whole soybeans, and oil.

According to Farm Development In-Charge Bro. Luigi Parolin, SDB of DBAMTC, soybeans were planted in their two-hectare coconut area as a techno-demo farm for their students and for their livestock projects. The DA-5 provided agricultural inputs to their project. At present, they have expanded their production areas to Oas and Bacacay in Albay; and Castilla and Pilar in Sorsogon.

They planted soybean varieties named Tiwala 6 and Tiwala 10.

According to Legazpi City Agricultural Technologist Eduardo M. Macasaet, majority of farmers are discouraged to venture to soybean production despite its market potential because of lack of training and equipment. The city agriculture office will be proposing for a Farmer Field School on Soybean Production.

Farmers Tobias Magracia, 54 and Vicente Alcantara, 61of neighbour barangay Cagbacong benefitted from the Soybean production of DBAMTC. However, because they do not have harvesting equipment and manual labor is costly, they stopped their soybean production and focused on their corn plants.

Parolin said that soybean and corn are a good combination for food and feed.

Banking on such potential, Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal will propose for a 50-hectare mass production of soybean just like Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara’s mass production of cacao. He also said that in order for soybean to be popular among the Bicolanos, there should be a strong collaboration between government, private institutions and farmers.

Soybean Processor Aurora Rico said that the protein derived from soybean is more healthy than animal protein. She added that soybean is the cheapest form to fight malnutrition. Her T’LIMLAMS Food Company needs three sacks of soybean per week.

The one-day activity was attended by more than 50 farmers, representatives of the DA-Bicol, Albay Provincial Agriculture Office, Philippine Statistics Office, and instructors of DBAMTC.

At present, there are only 21 soybean processors in the Bicol Region. (jaysonmgonzales)