Corteva Agriscience and the Department of Agriculture have inaugurated the first of 80 Rice and Corn Educational Farms (EduFarms) to be established since signing a memorandum of understanding in October 2019.
The EduFarms are designed to help farmers increase productivity and profitability, ultimately contributing to food security in the Philippines.
Farmers in the country face many challenges, from labor shortages to new diseases and pests, urbanization of agricultural land, climate change and natural disasters. These factors cause billions of pesos of losses to agriculture and directly impact the cost and security of food supply to consumers.
As a result, it is important for farmers to adopt better agricultural practices.
“Our company is dedicated to enriching the lives of those who produce and those who consume,” said Arun Mittal, Country Lead at Corteva Agriscience.
“Through the EduFarm project we are sharing our knowledge of agricultural best practices and products in order to raise crop productivity and improve farmer income,” he added.
For example, by planting high-yielding hybrid rice varieties and applying the corresponding crop protection treatments, Mittal said farmers can lower costs, spend less time laboring in the field and improve productivity.
“The EduFarms will build capacity in various areas to fulfill our shared goal with the government—food security and self-sufficiency,” he said.
The inauguration of the Nueva Ecija Rice EduFarm in Barangay Homestead, Talavera was officiated by Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar. It was attended by over 200 guests including farmers and members of the local government, representatives of the Department of Agriculture, and other invited stakeholders.
Guests visited the field to tour growing plots and the training shed to give them a close-up experience of the project.
“Hybrid rice technologies form part of our national rice production program. In fact, both hybrid rice commercialization and seed production systems have undoubtedly contributed in our efforts to secure the nation’s food requirements and the creation of new jobs in our rural areas,” Dar said.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law, he said the government “vigorously promotes the use of high-quality seeds, among other good practices, to modernize and develop the Filipino rice industry towards greater productivity and competitiveness.
“We therefore welcome and commend this initiative by Corteva as it supports and complements government efforts to produce our national rice requirements,” he added.
In line with the DA-Corteva MoU, the EduFarm project will continue to build training centers and provide farmer leaders with season-long field and in-classroom training.
Topics covered range from land and seed preparation, all the way to marketing and financial management. New seed preparation and crop protection technologies will also be shared.
The project encompasses 40 municipalities in the Philippines, covering a total of 50,000 hectares.
Corteva is also introducing its hybrid corn seeds, which yield bigger corns with compact kernels to as much as 12.5MT per hectare.
The DA will assist Corteva in setting up the training sessions, identifying participants, and endorsing the program to regional and provincial agriculture offices. It will also assist in the development of learning modules in the training program and provide other support for the success of the project.