SOA on smart rice agriculture 3rd season launched in W. Visayas

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: April 17, 2023

To boost the local palay production and yield in the region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas and DA-Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center 6 launched the third season of the School On the Air on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) Technologies in a program held on March 14 in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.
“The SOA-SRA is a continuing radio-based distance learning approach that seeks to widen the understanding and adoption of farmers on climate-smart rice production technologies anchored on the PalayCheck System,” said Nicolasita Gallego, ATI-RTC 6 information officer.
She said that the SOA-SRA this year has over 2,500 target farmer enrollees from the provinces of Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental who are bound to understand the modern and climate-smart rice technologies and the entire rice value chain and innovative approaches that seek to optimize farm yields and reduce season-specific constraints of the targeted provinces.
ATI-RTC 6, in coordination with the provincial and municipal SOA-SRA coordinators, will enlist 300 farmers from Aklan, 700 in Capiz, 150 in Guimaras, 700 in Iloilo, and 710 in Negros Occidental.
The SOA-SRA for the past two years was successfully implemented through the collaborations of the DA Western Visayas, ATI, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), academe, and media partners.
DA Western Visayas Regional Information Officer James Earl Ogatis said, “on this third season of SOA-SRA, we will try to produce more than 30 episodes for the four-month implementation. Apart from SOA, we also produce and disseminate various IEC materials and conduct information caravan regionwide to facilitate knowledge transfer to rice farmers.”
On the other hand, ATI National Director Engr. Remelyn Recoter lauded the SOA-SRA implementers in the region for ensuring farmers’ adoption of climate-resilient technologies through the radio program, which would translate to improved yield and an increase in farmers’ income.
“Taong 2019 noong unang inilunsad ang SOA-SRA. Mag mula noon patuloy na dumarami ang mga tagapakinig sa iba’t ibang dako ng bansa. Nangangahulugan lamang ito na laging handa ang mga rice farmers na matuto ng makabagong pamamaraan nga pagsasaka ng palay. Bukod sa mga bagong teknolohiya, kabilang din rito ang produksyon ng mga alternatibong barayti para masigurong sapat ang suplay ng bigas sa Pilipinas. Tunay na kailangan upang mapataas ang antas ng kasanayan ng mga smallholder farmers at local intermediaries sa kabilang ng napapanahong hamon sa produksyon gaya ng pagtaas ng presyo ng abono at pamamahala ng irigasyon,” Director Recoter said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rodulfo Estigoy of PhilMech said that DA and ATI should also evaluate core implementing strategies and impact analysis of the SOA-SRA program in the region in relation to palay production volume and yield increase.
DA Regional Rice Program Report Officer Reynol Dequino stressed that although Western Visayas ranks third nationwide in palay production and second in the total area harvested, its average yield per hectare was only 3.41 metric tons per hectare in 2022.
“We have to intensify the information dissemination of matured rice technologies to rice farmers so we can help them better their yields amid the increasing prices of farm inputs and effects of climate change. Through SOA, we could improve the average yields, particularly in Aklan and Negros Occidental,” he added. ###By Sheila Mae H. Toreno