|Farmers and extension agents witness the operation of |
small round baler in Mlang, North Cotabato.
Rounding up their initiatives to educate farmers and encourage mechanized straw collection in North Cotabato and Bukidnon this October, IRRI, in partnership with PhilRice, Philippine Carabao Center and Philmech held their last two demonstrations last October 1 and 4. The project runs under the DA-BAR funded “Development of Sustainable Rice Straw Practices and Technologies for Food, Feed and Bioenergy in the Philippines” (RiceStrawPH).
The demonstration aims to promote mechanized straw collection for sustainable management of rice straw for alternative uses to minimize the effect on the environment such as greenhouse gas emissions from in-field burning and anaerobic decomposition in the field. The Chief of the Office of Provincial Agriculture (OPAG) in North Cotabato, Ms Abedece Curtiz, gave full support to the initiative, remarking that the rice straw baler being used to collect rice straw can help farmers make money by using it as feeds, as medium of mushroom production, and to generate bioenergy.
The president of the irrigators’ association, Mr. Dante Hasermida, said that using the rice straw baler can avoid field burning of rice straw in the village. “Our association--composed of 542 members and 1,232 hectares rice fields, is very much interested in availing the machine through government’s project. The baler will be useful for us as it will enable our farmers to collect the straw and use it to feed animals and increase mushroom production,” he added.
Mr. Willy Santillan, a rice farmer and beneficiary of a dairy program in Bukidnon, shared the importance of using rice straw vs. grass as animal feeds, as the latter is more cost-efficient.
Dr. Caesar Tado of PhilRice commented that “the government allocated Php5B per year for the next six years on mechanization, which can be availed by farmers--especially in Bukidnon which a high priority area in the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program. There is a big possibility that the farmers will be able to avail of mechanization tools if they send a request to PhilMech. The RiceStrawPH project can help Bukidnon farmers to showcase their need for Balers,” he added.
Dr. Lowell Paraguas, Director of Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in Bukidnon, encouraged the farmers to avoid rice straw burning because the PCC is willing to buy them for use as carabao feed. The agency is very much dependent on rice straw as carabao feeds during the rice season which they started collecting in December. “We conducted studies to increase palatability of RS by adding nutrients and they have the square baler to collect rice straw in the field,” he concluded.
|Farmers, cattle raisers and government workers are excited to see the demonstration of |
rice straw baler at PhilRice station in Musuan, Bukidnon.
The demonstration in North Cotabato was attended by 20 ruminant raisers, 84 rice farmers and 20 research and extension workers from IRRI, PhilRice, PCC and Municipal and Provincial office of Agriculture in North Cotabato.
The demonstration in Musuan, Bukidnon was held at the compound of PhilRice-Central Mindanao University (PhilRice CMU) and was attended by 134 participants that include farmers, ruminant raisers, and government extension agents. Mr. Noel Mabayag, PhilRice-CMU station manager, supported the baler demonstration as an initiative to help farmers in the countryside.