As we know, coconut is the tree of life. So, walang parte ng coconut na hindi nagagamit. But, coconut water of a matured nut is considered the (most) useless,” shared Sagrada P. Alvarez, city agriculturist of Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental.

Despite its stagnant production, the coconut industry remains as one of the most important crops in the Philippines next to rice and corn.

For an instance, in Misamis Occidental, coconut product area uses more than 85 percent of its total agricultural land.

However, most coconut farmers rely on copra as their main source of income. But with the low buying price of copra, coconut farmers still live below the poverty line.

This led to the project “Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) for Coconut-based Farming Systems in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental,” funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research and implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Northern Mindanao which introduced crop diversification with livestock integration and value-adding technologies to augment the low income of coconut farmers.

 

The community’s road to success

Through the project and with the help of DA-Northern Mindanao, the CPAR coconut farmers were organized and registered to the Department of Labor and Employment and Securities and Exchange Commission as CPAR Farmers Association Inc.

This empowered the community to actively seek engagements and agripreneurial activities to improve their livelihood. It inspired them to sustain the project even after its completion.

Juanita B. Salvani, chief of DA-Northern Mindanao research division, attributed the success of this project to the active participation of Oroquieta’s local government.

“The success of our CPAR projects in Region 10 also depends on the local government unit (LGU) that is handling [the project]. Hindi kami makadiretso, nagbibigay lang kami ng technical assistance sa kanila,” shared Salvani.

 

The making of coco sauce

In some parts of the country, coconut water is processed and canned. But the CPAR Farmers Association Inc. does not have the capacity to do the same said Alvarez.

Coconut sauce is the brainchild of the CPAR Farmers Association Inc. The LGU of Oroquieta looked for other value-adding technology to boost the income of coconut farmers. Through research, they were able to identify that coconut water is better off as sauce.

“We are targeting rural folks to have complete needs in the kitchen from oil, sauce, vinegar, coffee, and tea or even milk out of coconut,” said Alvarez.

Awards and recognitions received

Made from 100 percent matured coconut water, the coconut sauce of DA-Northern Mindanao bagged the best product award during this year’s 15th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition.

In 2018, the coconut sauce also won the best CPAR product award during the 1st Mindanao Community-based Participatory Action Research cum TechnoCom Forum and Product Exhibition.

 

Moving forward

With the five-million-peso research grant they have won, the CPAR Farmers Association Inc. plans: 1) to have their product analyzed to determine its shelf life and nutritional facts; 2) to register its process to Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines; 3) to establish a central processing facility and pasalubong center not just for coconut but also for their other crops like banana, cassava, and cacao; and 4) to enhance their capacity through trainings.

“We aim to compete globally to uplift the coconut industry,” ended Alvarez. ### (Rena S. Hermoso)

 

For more information:
Juanita B. Salvani
Chief, Research Division
DA-Northern Mindanao
Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sagrada P. Alvarez
City Agriculturist
Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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To further promote the utilization and boost the economic potential of sardines, a training on value-adding technologies was held on 7-9 October 2019 in Nasidman Island, Ajuy, Iloilo.

The training-activity was spearheaded by the University of the Philippines Visayas and funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) through its Technology Commercialization Division (TCD).

Part of the project “Value Chain Analysis of the Sardine Fisheries in the Philippines,” it aimed to forward the production and consumption of sardines in the country, as well as expose the locals to different opportunities and value-adding technologies that can turn their yield into more profitable products. Part of the event is a lecture and an on-site demonstration led by Ernestina Peralta, of the University of the Philippines Visayas.

Present during the event were Dr. Encarnacion Emilia Santos- Yap, project leader and Dean of the University of the Philippines Visayas – College of Fisheries and Ocean Science; and Ma. Elena Garces, BAR-TCD assistant head.

The topics discussed include the processes of making Sardine Lamayo, Sardine Hamonado, Sardine Patis, and bottled sardines. According to Peralta, the activity is one way to utilize the fish catch of the locals and increase their income aside from their usual dried fish products. Aside from the said topics, misconceptions about sardine products, sardine spoilage, good manufacturing processes, and fish cleaning and sorting were also tackled in the activity.

According to John Balleza, barangay captain of Nasidman, the workshop can help boost the tourism in their barangay as this opportunity enhances their knowledge more about the sardine fishing industry.

BAR, under the National Technology Commercialization Program, continuously supports projects that can help increase and improve the product utilization of stakeholders in the agriculture and fisheries sector. ### Chantale T. Francisco

There is a global consensus that young people are leaving agricultural communities for more lucrative opportunities in urban areas. The Philippines is among the countries that are greatly affected by this global phenomenon.

With this, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has intensified its effort to encourage the youth to venture into agriculture through scholarship and agripreneurship loan programs.
In his research on youth and agriculture, Jaime A. Manalo IV, supervising science research specialist at the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said that “the desire to pursue agriculture-related courses is not completely absent.”

He adds that there are plenty of indirect forms of engagement in agriculture that young people want to take part in such as being infomediaries (information providers) for their farmer-parents.

Taking off from his earlier research findings, Manalo together with his team at DA-PhilRice initiated the Infomediary Campaign back in 2012. The campaign aimed to create alternative communication pathways in agriculture by mobilizing high school students as information providers in their respective rice-farming communities.

A way of serving as information provider is sending text messages to the PhilRice Text Center, a text messaging platform for farmers being managed by PhilRice. The success of this campaign led to an off-shoot project funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research that aimed to conceptualize and develop climate change-adaptive schools. Manalo’s team collaborated with the Technical-Vocational (TecVoc) Unit of the Department of Education to realize this project.

“There is an urgent need to develop mechanisms to ensure continuous food production in the midst of climate change,” explained Anna Marie F. Bautista, science research specialist and project team member.

About the project

Implemented from October 2016 to March 2019, the project was participated in by 12 high schools, mostly under the TecVoc, strategically located nationwide. The overarching goal of the project was to enhance school-community interaction with regard to climate change, and technologies that may help rice-farming communities adapt to its impact.

An example is the alternate wetting and drying technology, which is a water management technology. It is an adaptive mechanism that helps farmers in optimizing their water resource.
Among the major strategies of the project was the training of teachers and their school administrators, sometimes with the TecVoc Education Head, on climate change and rice production at DA-PhilRice. The week-long training is filled with lectures and practical exercises which will help participating teachers prepare for the tasks for the project.

Aside from technology-related interventions, the project also documented effective teaching styles in conveying climate change-related information in agriculture to students. As part of this component, the project team developed three modules: Climate Change 101, Climate Change Adaptation, and Climate Change Mitigation.

These modules were used by teachers in their teaching demonstration. Their co-teachers critiqued the demonstration through a focus group discussion. The insights from the focus groups were processed by the team to come up with best-fit practices guide on teaching climate change and rice production to students.

The project also looked at the level of information sharing that transpired in the process. That is, from the teachers, to the students, to their farmer-parents, and to other farmers in their community. This was done to determine the reach of information that the teachers passed on to the students.

Climate change-adaptive schools

From this project, the team wrote a book titled “What is a climate change-adaptive school?” The book details all the lessons generated from the project.

It is noted in the book that a climate change-adaptive (CCA) school is one that is able to: 1) integrate lessons on climate change as well as its adaptation and mitigation in the school curriculum; 2) reach out to its community to promote the strategies and technologies that it showcases; 3) engage farmers in the community in a dialogue on how they can together come up with more innovations to tackle the impacts of climate change on their livelihood and lives; and 4) demonstrate relevant strategies and technologies.

Batac National High School (BNHS) is one of the CCA schools established through the project. Roughly 90 percent of their students came from rice-farming households.

“We were able to utilize the technologies introduced by DA-PhilRice,” shared by Allan B. Garcia, head teacher at BNHS.

He added, “From their [students] exposure to the activities of the project, the students were able to share their learnings to their farmer-parents.” This in turn helps the community update their farming practices through the adoption of CCA technologies on rice.

“I want to share with him [her father] other ways to improve rice crop productivity and yield,” shared Lovely T. Atuelan, a Grade 10 student at BNHS.

“It is important that we tap the young generations because… they are more receptive and willing to adopt new farming technologies,” said Norelyn R. Dela Cruz, partner agriculture teacher at BNHS.

The book “What is a climate change-adaptive school?” is available at the DA-PhilRice website (www.philrice.gov.ph) under the downloads tab. ### Rena S. Hermoso

For more information:
Jaime A. Manalo, IV
Supervising Science Research Specialist, DA-PhilRice
Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija
(+6344) 456 0258 local 500
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.