Lanao Norte’s coco farm touted to boost NorMin tourism

Northern Mindanao’s farm tourism got a boost as a Lanao del Norte town recently developed its own coco farm.

Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo said the Provincial Coco Farm Tourism Camp in Barangay Poblacion, Magsaysay town is being primed to become a tourist attraction in the province.

In a statement Wednesday, Dimaporo noted that farm tourism “is now becoming popular in the country.”

“Lanao del Norte, with its vast agricultural land the primary source of income aside from fisheries, will surely encourage local and foreign tourists to come and experience the beauty and bounty, as well as the hospitality and see for themselves the unity of the people,” she said.

Local traders, she said, will benefit from farm tourism as it will create more economic activities.

Restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops will flourish to meet the demands of the tourists, the governor added.

Magsaysay, which celebrates the importance of coconut through the Niyogan Festival every May 23, was chosen by the provincial government to be the pilot municipality due to its model coconut plantation.

Dimaporo said the farm was established in line with the government’s thrust to promote farm tourism as mandated in the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016.

The law recognizes that tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country, serve as catalyst for the development of agriculture and fishery communities, and provide additional income for farmers, farm workers, and fisher folk.

The law also aims to promote environment-friendly, efficient and sustainable farm practices; provide alternative recreation facilities and farm tourism activities for families, students and other clientele; and promote health and wellness with high-quality farm-produced food.

Farm tourism, according to an article of the Philippine Information Agency, is where tourism and agriculture meet, where people are invited to properties that offer recreational activities or adventures that enable them to enjoy the freshness of nature.

For an area to be recognized as a farm tourism camp, its proprietors must obtain accreditation from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Tourism. (PNA)

DOT-10 to develop LanaoNorte as farm tourist destination

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte, August 26, (PIA)–The Department of Tourism (DOT-10) and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte through the Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), recently conducted ocular inspection to possible sites in the province that can be included in the development and promotion of farm tourism in the country. 

Team composed of DOT-10 personnel and Tourism officers of the province and municipalities were into ocular inspection to farms possible for a farm-tourist destinations. (PIO-LDN)

DOT-10, PTO and the Provincial Information Office, this province, visited privately owned farmlands within Lanao del Norte to personally inspect and assess the location and the existing amenities that these farms can provide.

Farm tourism is rapidly growing in the Philippines as well as to other countries.

Farm tourisdm is where tourism and agriculture meet, inviting the public into their property that offers recreational activities or adventures that interests the people while enjoying the freshness of nature in relaxing mode and encouraging them to experience life in the farm through different activities such as hiking, bird-watching, campfires, fruit harvesting and overnight stays. 

Republic Act 10816, otherwise known as “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016,” defines farm tourism as the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes.

It involves any agricultural – or fishery – based operation or activity that brings to a farm visitors, tourists, farmers and fisherfolk who want to be educated and trained on farming and its related activities, and provides a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings. 

The accreditation of farm tourism camps will be the responsibility of DOT and the Department of Agriculture (DA), according to the law. 

On the other hand, for marketing promotion and development, the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board, the DA, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the local government units shall include farm tourism in their marketing and promotions programs, and support operators of accredited farm tourism camps and their associations in conducting and joining local and international conferences, congresses, trade fairs, and exhibits. 

As the provincial chief executive, Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo strongly supports the DOT program and was humbled when DOT included “The Land of Beauty and Bounty” to be one of the beneficiaries of the program, where it possessed a number of must-see natural sights, to name a few-the Tinago falls, Cathedral falls, Pagayawan falls, and Mighty Cave Park. 

The provincial chief executive had earlier named Magsaysay as the pilot municipality for promoting Agri-Tourism in the Province of Lanao del Norte. (PIO-LDN/PIA-10)

How technology is innovating agriculture in the Philippines

Agriculture typically involves manual labor but certain innovations in the sector have made it more technologically-inclined. (The STAR/File photo)

GUIYANG — Agriculture industry originally relies on manual labor but certain integrations of technology into the sector has definitely leveraged its own growth and development.

In other countries, for instance, they have started to roll out particular innovations in order to boost their agricultural systems.

China, which is known for its massive landscapes of grasslands and mountains, has been integrating technology into the development of their agriculture, particularly kiwifruits or kiwi.

The Asian giant is reclaiming the fruit as their own since the seeds originally came from them, and not in New Zealand as the misconception.

China’s Xiuwen county has established itself as one of the major producers of kiwifruits in the country. They have successfully integrated technology into the production and manufacturing of kiwis. (Photo by Jeline Malasig)

In Guizhou province, they have developed the Traceability Management System for Agricultural Products in Xiuwen County.

This system gathers any kind of information relevant to the kiwi plantation’s environment, from its climate to soil pH levels. It also monitors if the kiwifruit trees have diseases or not.

Furthermore, detailed data on each fruit is collected and stored for analysis—such as its size, sugar content and sugar-acid ratio.

Technology for innovation 

While the Philippines has yet to fully improve and develop its own agricultural sector, there have been initiatives done to help farmers through technology as well.

F1 hybrid seeds have been used in corn production in the Caraga region. It is to “ensure sustainable production in prime corn lands,” raise the average yields of corns per hectare and increase the income of marginal corn farmers in the region.

Other papaya-producing countries like Taiwan have similarly incorporated F1 hybrid seeds into their production. According to reports, it has resulted in “high-yielding” and “great tasting” papayas.

Intelligent farming equipment has also helped farmers increase their field productivity. One example is the WR-801 Multi-Function Hand Tractor that can do the job of ten people at once.

The machine can perform weeding, double-row tilling for fertilizer application, rotavation and furrow forming for corn fields and vegetable plots.

The country also completed what could be considered its “first and biggest” solar-powered irrigation system last May 2018. Piñol said that it could irrigate up to 500,000 hectares.

On the same month, Japanese-made drones have been utilized in three Benguet towns to spray fertilizer on vegetable farms located on mountain slopes. It was intended to lessen the farmers’ hours in the field.

The government also created a website specifically designed to help farmers in crop planning. Called Farmers Guide Map, it assists farmers in identifying suitable crops to be planted on their lands. It also provides data on climate conditions and soil adaptability.

In addition, different applications have also been developed as well.

Rice Crop Manager app, a web-based platform, provides recommendations to farmers in crop management based on their own farm conditions.

AgriDOC app enables farmers to record their activities and monitor farm inputs, improve their farm tasking and guide them in farm management.

KROPS app lets farmers market their own products at their own prices and help potential buyers find sources of farm products within their own area.

Editor’s note: The trip to China was hosted by the Chinese embassy to promote tourism. At no stage does the host organization have a say on the stories generated from the coverage, interviews conducted, publication date and story treatment. Content is produced solely by following editorial guidelines. 

Brexit: Farmers could be paid to protect the environment

Farmers in Wales would be offered money to carry out work which protects and enhances the environment, under new post-Brexit farming proposals.

Ministers had proposed two grant schemes to replace EU funding, but the latest proposal rolls them into one.

Welsh farmers receive subsidies worth about £300m a year from the EU, making up 80% of their income on average.

However, it is not known how much money will be available to support agriculture after the UK leaves the EU.

The Welsh Government is asking people’s views on its new plans after an earlier consultation attracted a record-breaking number of responses.

The Sustainable Farming Scheme will pay for work to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create habitats for wildlife and improve water quality.

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Farms will be visited by an adviser who will draw up a contract based on the environmental benefits they agree the farmer is, or could be delivering.

They will be rewarded for new environmental work – like planting new woodlands – but also for maintaining and enhancing what is already there.

Farmers will also be able to access a range of business support, such as help with skills development or loans for new equipment.

Lesley Griffiths
Image captionEnvironment and rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths says the scheme will help pay farmers while protecting the environment

The scheme will help address challenges in sustainable food production, responding to climate change and increasing biodiversity, according to minister for the environment and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths.

“We believe future farm support should reflect this and reward farmers who take action to meet these challenges,” she explained.

Ms Griffiths had initially hoped the new funding scheme would be phased in from 2021.

That aim has been dropped due to ongoing uncertainty around Brexit – which Ms Griffiths described as “incredibly frustrating” – but a multi-year transition is still promised.

Dairy farmer Abi Reader
Image captionDairy farmer Abi Reader said uncertainty around Brexit made it difficult to plan for the future

Dairy farmer Abi Reader from Wenvoe, Vale of Glamorgan, said it was “complicated to plan when we don’t know what is happening with Brexit”.

She said the subsidy was a “safety net” that helped her business to remain viable.

“We have high costs of production here because of things like our welfare standards, our environmental standards – which are world leading – and we need that little bit of protection to make sure that we can continue trading,” she told BBC Radio Wales.

Farmers have until 30 October to respond to the latest consultation, and have been offered the chance to “co-design” the final proposals in the autumn.

More than 12,000 responses were received the last time views were sought on farming after Brexit – a record for the rural affairs department.

Lake Mymbyr, Snowdonia, Wales, with pink flowers in the foreground
Image captionReversing a decline in biodiversity is one of the three challenges the Welsh Government says it is trying to address

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) warned that removing direct support payments based on how much land is farmed could see Welsh farmers disadvantaged compared with their counterparts in the EU.

“This concern would also relate to competition with farmers in Scotland and Northern Ireland if those countries retain some form of direct support,” said Glyn Roberts, FUW president.

Plaid Cymru’s rural affairs spokesman Llyr Gruffydd said the Welsh Government had been “stung into a change in tone” after a “hostile reaction” to its earlier consultation.

Israeli–funded solar irrigation in Laguna nears completion

MANILA, Philippines — The Israeli government is set to complete two solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) in Laguna as part of efforts to help ensure sufficient rice supply in the Philippines.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the  LR Group of Israel subsidiary Innovative Agro Industry would soon  complete the replacement of the diesel engine-powered water pumps and another one using underground water from a deep well in Lumban in Laguna.

Apart from the two SPIS units, the Israeli government is offering a P44 billion long term loan to the Department of Agriculture to build an additional 6,200 units to serve an estimated 500,000 hectares nationwide.

The LR Group offered to establish two models of their solar irrigation technology, one is designed to replace the diesel engine-powered shallow tube wells where farmers spend about P15,000 per hectare per planting season just for the fuel,” Piñol said.

“The other would be a deep-well sourced solar powered irrigation designed to provide water in areas where there are no open sources for water,” he said.

Some of the components of the SPIS were designed and fabricated in Israel and shipped to the Philippiaes for installation under the supervision of Israeli engineers and experts.

The demonstration area in Laguna is targeted for completion within the month.  It will then be presented by the Israeli ambassador to President Duterte.

The technology introduced by the LR Group is seen to increase rice production by four million metric tons of paddy rice per annum.

Piñol has emphasized the need to irrigate more lands in the country to boost the production of rice and other high value crops.

“The inability of the country to cope with the rice needs of its consumers is mainly because of the fact that of the estimated 2.9 million hectares of rice farms, only about 1.2 million are effectively irrigated where farmers could plant twice a year,” he said.

The DA has already constructed around 200 SPIS units all over the country but it needs to irrigate 500,000 hectares by the end of Duterte’s term.

Innovative Agro Industry was among the Israeli agriculture firms that met with the DA to explore possible business opportunities for bilateral cooperation during the last forum hosted by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

The Philippines is  looking  at Israel for the development of new technologies for the agriculture sector.

DA, DILG to provide solar water systems for off-grid barangays

The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior and Local Government will team up to provide water for irrigation as well as for drinking to far-flung barangays

WATER SOURCE. The Department of Agriculture seeks to provide water to far-flung barangays, with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will be signing a memorandum of agreement to launch a solar-powered water supply program for off-grid barangays.

In a Facebook post, outgoing Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this program will give water to rural areas for both irrigation and drinking purposes.

The DA and the DILG will target barangays which rely on open sources of water and lack enough power sources.

The joint program, which will be under the DA’s existing solar-powered irrigation system project, will start by August. (READ: Department of Agriculture eyes more solar irrigation facilities in Laguna, Rizal)

“The absence of water supply in the remote villages also affect the food production activities of the residents, especially those planting vegetables and other crops for their subsistence,” Piñol said.

The DILG will identify the barangays for the project, while the DA will build the system, which will source water from springs or deep wells.

The DA will also organize farmers to be more involved in vegetable farming and other agribusiness opportunities.

Earlier, the DA and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also met with Aboitiz Power Corporation to launch a floating solar farm in Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi. This will power an ice-making and cold storage facility.

Piñol said the farm will also serve as a fish convergence area for the community. The DA will provide a P20-billion fund for the floating solar farm prototype. 

PhilRice expands area for high-quality inbred seeds production

To increase the accessibility of high-quality seeds in Mindanao, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) establishing a 50ha seed production area, June 24.

 “Farmers’ competitiveness starts with high-quality inbred seeds. We have to double our efforts in producing high-quality seeds as demand for foundation, registered, and certified seeds will increase with the implementation of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP),” said Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, PhilRice acting executive director.

Holding the signed MOA are PhilRice Acting Executive Director Sailila E. Abdula (L) and USM President Francisco Gil N. Garcia (R).

Under RCEP, PhilRice will utilize P3B to produce and distribute high-quality inbred seeds to qualified farmers. The said program is on top of Department of Agriculture’s core project for farmers.

The upcoming PhilRice USM substation will be utilized mainly for seed production, rice technology demonstration, and experiments. USM, based in Kabacan, Cotabato, is one of the country’s four leading state universities with achieved excellence in agricultural education.

Cayetano C. Pomares, USM vice president for research, development, and extension, said they have observed the low adoption of certified inbred seeds in Southern Mindanao. With the collaboration, he hopes to see farmers growing high-quality seeds in their rice fields.

Meanwhile, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte renewed its partnership with PhilRice for 25 years. The MOA, which was signed June 26, allows PhilRice to develop 10ha for seed production, technology demonstration, and construction and renovation of state-of-the-art facilities.

“With this effort, we hope to contribute in helping our rice farmers cushion the effect of Rice Trade Liberalization Law,” Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, MMSU president, said.

PhilRice Batac station is currently housed at MMSU compound, which focuses on dry land agriculture.

llth General Assembly of Loamc-PH

Wishing for the gift of bilocation. Am in Bislig City at the 11th General Assembly of LOAMC. But this afternoon in QC at NCPAG, the Galing Pook Foundation is also having its annual general assembly.

Both organizations are driven by the belief that participatory good local governance is one of the most effective strategies to bring about the changes we want in our country, not in one grand instant, but in many different places, at different times. Through initiatives like Galing Pook and LOAMC, they can inspire one another, learn from one another, and come together to create an impact that is greater than a mere aggregation of their individual efforts. In a mantra from our activist past, “quantitative changes can transform to qualitative changes.”

11 General Assembly of Loamc Phils

I am in Bislig City (the Organic Capital of Asia) representing Regeneration International 🌏 at the 11th General Assembly of the LOAMC Phils. to sign the “Regeneration Philippines” Memorandum of Understanding 🇵🇭. 👏👏👏to LOAMC (a group of +200 municipalities, cities and provinces) for its pledge to address climate change through soil health ☀️🌧🌿🌤🌾🌾🌾🌾🌏🙏