An empowered farmer empowering other farmers

Meet Michael P. Bajenting, 43, from New Murcia, Matanao, Davao del Sur. Trained by TESDA RTC-KorPhil Davao through the Farmer Field School in the Production of High-Quality Inbred Rice, Seed Certification and Farm Mechanization on 2022, he has acquired practices in rice farming that helped him increased his harvest and raised his income.  

In the season-long training in the FFS, Michael learned recommended farming technologies from the Palay Check System that boosted his overall yield and income. He learned the value of using certified seeds given by DA-Philrice and how these high quality and suggested variety coupled with correct managements can lead to an increased yield. Before the RCEF program, Michael shared that they are using goods seeds or farmer’s seeds from the harvest of their neighboring farmers. Said seeds has not undergone laboratory testing to check its germination rate, purity and other quality parameters.

In the land preparation, Michael being the chairman of the New Murcia Multipurpose Cooperative (NMMPC) maximized the use of machineries granted by the DA-PhilMech to the cooperative. The use of two-wheel and four-wheel tractors in the plowing, harrowing and levelling has improved their land preparation. In the previous years, limited machines and the use of draft-animal-driven leveler made their land preparation laborious and time consuming. But thanks to RCEF program who provided them with machines now touted as the modern best friend of the farmers.  

Further, Michael also appreciated the integrated pest management. He currently practiced interventions such as cultural, biological, ecological and chemical to control pests in the field so as not to inflict significant damage in the rice crop. He revealed that their previous practices are expensive since they directly proceed on the use of chemicals that affects their income, the environment, the friendly insects feeding on insect pest and themselves during the spraying activity.

In the water management, he learned that the field does not always need standing water. This opened his mind to the correct water level leading to the efficient use of water and sharing the water supply to the farms in the tail end part of the irrigation canal. He furthered that he used to flood the field before and this led to low number of tillers and water stress due to overwatering.

With all the learning he got from the training, Michael testified that it gave him an increased harvest. What was a 70-80-bag harvest before the adaption of the Palay Check is presently yielding more than 90 to 100 bags harvest per hectare. Moreover, bigger savings in the capital is observed because pest is managed without buying those expensive chemicals but with the use of friendlier and cost-effective interventions.

Michael also disclosed that he shares his learning to his neighboring farmers. He encouraged them to go synchronous planting, use certified seeds, prepare a well-levelled field, and practice integrated pest management. He elevated his commitment to helping his co-farmers through the birth on 2023 of the Gold Farm, a learning site registered under the DA-Agricultural Training Institute XI. He wanted to reach and teach more farmers to practice the recommended technologies. For him, sharing what he learned will help other farmers and together they will contribute towards achieving a rice-secure Philippines!

Truly, Micheal is an empowered farmer empowering other farmers!

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