CHED grants P7.5-M for study on integrated farming for corn farmers
Instead on relying on corn production alone, farmers may consider integrated farming to sustain their livelihood amid the threat of climate change.
A study titled “Enhancing Sustainability of Corn Production Amidst Climate Change” would like to show that “you can integrate other crops in a corn-based farm”, said Professor Eva S. Montero, director of the Research and Development Services and manager of the Farmer Information and Technology Service (FITS) center of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) Batad campus.
Montero, in an interview on Thursday, said her study was recipient of a PHP7.5 million grant from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) central office.
“Farmers dwell on mono-cropping, planting hybrid corn for feed purposes. However, I saw that financiers are exploiting corn farmers. So what I had in mind was to encourage farmers to go into integrated farming,” she said.
She explained that farmers have to wait for 110 days before they could harvest their hybrid corn. Thus, if farmers solely plan this kind of crop, then they have to wait that long before they could earn money.
She emphasized that they could go into green corn or yellow sweet corn and other crops.
Under her guidance, a techno-demo farm was established inside the NIPSC in Batad.
“In order to transfer the technology to the farmers, I have to prove to them what is going on in the field. And they could hardly believe that at this time of the year, there in our farm thrive different kinds of vegetables, including lettuce,” she stated.
Other crops available in the demo farm are cherry tomatoes, squash, eggplant, okra and pepper, among others. This proved that growing these vegetables are not impossible even without irrigation, she said. These are just watered every other day.
Next month, 30 farmers from the town of Batad will be chosen as adopters of the technology. They will be trained for 18 weeks inside the demo farm. Thereafter, they are expected to carry over the technology in their respective farms.
They will be provided with seeds by the NIPSC while their labor will serve as counterpart.
Montero, meanwhile, added that at the end of her three-year study, she would like to make Batad as the “center for innovative climate resilient agriculture”.
Around 5,000 hectares the agricultural area in Batad are dedicated to corn production. The municipality used to be the corn capital of Iloilo. (PNA)