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|Tagbakin farmers display the AVRDC lettuce trial variety during the farmers' field day in Tiaong, Quezon Province.|
"Ang pera ay nasa bukid." This was the theme of the Farmers’ Field Day held at Bgy. Tagbakin, Tiaong, Quezon on 7 March 2006. Quezon farmer groups trooped to the farm of Catalino Caringal, where the field day was held, and plots of tomatoes, lettuce, and pepper varieties were showcased.
The activity was an offshoot of the Asian Vegetable Research Development Center (AVRDC) training-workshop on “Conducting Trials of Promising Vegetable Varieties,” The training-workshop conducted was attended by four representatives from the Philippines including DA-BAR National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) coordinator for crops, Ms. Digna Sandoval, who were expected to conduct trial testings after the training in their countries.
The four on-site testing were at the Department of Agriculture (DA) centers in QAES - Tiaong, Quezon; Bureau of Plant Industry - Los Baños, Laguna; DA-Regional Field Unit X- Northern Mindanao Integrated Agriculture Center (NOMIARC) - Cagayan de Oro City; and Bureau of Plant Industry - Guisad, Baguio City.
Not only did the farmers’ field day presented the trial yields of promising vegetables, it also became a venue to discuss production strategies and marketing issues that could ensue once farmers plant these vegetable seedlings on their farms.
The Quezon Agricultural Extension Station (QAES) coordinated the activity with farmer groups and cooperators, from nearby towns of Candelaria and Sariaya. According to Dr. Estela Taño, QAES senior technical staff, who supervises the on-farm trial, “The transfer (sharing) of technology is faster and more efficient if it is done in the farm. The farmers can see for themselves the quality of the actual yield, and even gather ideas on which vegetables could potentially be grown in Quezon.”
The farmers who attended the half-day activity had good words for the on-farm trial testing. Barangay Captain Tony Doñes, president of Tagbakin Farmers Association, expressed his group’s optimism on this project. “It is imperative that this kind of technology for growing vegetables is shared with the farmers.”
Mr. Antonio Luna, a farmer and businessman, explained that Quezon vegetables have been in demand after typhoons affected vegetable production in the northern part of the Philippines. He said that, “Quezon vegetables are slowly making their mark in supplying commercial farms that deliver vegetables to the National Capital Region’s (NCR) high-end supermarkets.” He added that in time Quezon vegetable farmers could go organic and supply organically grown products for the specialty markets in Metro Manila.
Dr. Taño presented the parameters that the farmers themselves identified as standards for choosing vegetables from this trial: adaptability, acceptability, disease tolerance, marketability, and yield.
The farmers expressed hope that in planting these varieties, their vegetables could compete with those from other regions, eventually proving that Quezon could be the next vegetable basket of the country.