For five years now, the La Granja National Crop Research, Development and Production Support Center, Bureau of Plant Industry has been conducting Field Day cum Farmers’ Forum for farmers and agricultural stakeholders.  This is usually done in the month of July. Hence, on 18th and 19th of July 2017  BPI La Granja Field Day was conducted with the theme: Pasanyugon Ang Naga Kaigo Nga Mga Teknolohiya sa Pagpanguma Agud Masigurado May Pagkaon sa Lamesa sang Kada Pamilya” (Let’s Promote Appropriate Farming Technologies to Ensure Food Sufficiency on Every Family Table).  The first day activity focused on showcasing the different projects and facilities of the center under the different priority and banner programs of the Department of Agriculture such as Core Program, Organic Agriculture, High Value Crops Development Program, Corn Program, Quality Seeds and Plant Material Production and Distribution including the newly established Solar Irrigation System which when fully in place could supply the water requirements of  the center’s different research and seed production projects especially during the dry season.   

          About 400 farmers, extension workers, LGU officials and representatives, students, educators, researchers and senior citizens flocked to BPI La Granja on Day 1.  They were treated to a field tour to the different field projects and facilities of the center by walking through or by riding on a carabao-driven carosa. Technology demonstrations were also conducted on selected technologies after which a Farmers’ forum followed in the afternoon.  The panelists consisted of Dr. Santiago R. Obien, retired PhilRice Executive Director and currently Technical Consultant of the Bureau of Plant Industry,  Dr. Elmer E. Enicola  and Prof. Nestor N. Altoveros of the Institute of Plant Breeding-University of the Philippines, Ms. Marnelie G. Subong of the Bureau of Agricultural Research – Department of Agriculture, Mr. Yondre J. Yonder, Center Chief of Guimaras NCRDPSC,  Dr. Juliet Ochasan of BPI Baguio NCRDPSC, and Ms. Arceli G. Yebes of BPI Davao NCRDPSC.  It was an enriching opportunity among field day participants as they aired their concerns and problems in farming which the panelists candidly shared their technical expertise and field experiences.

Before winding-up  the Day 1, farmers and participants were given their preferred seeds and plant materials through enrolling earlier in the Material Assistance Corner.  Seeds of cereals (rice and corn), legumes ( peanut, mungbean, soybean, cowpea, bush sitao), and vegetables (squash, tomato, eggplant, okra, ampalaya, and pole sitao), and a number of plant materials of selected fruit crops, root crops, and herbs and spices  along with IEC materials in Ilonggo were distributed. 

          Day 2 of the Field Day was slated for students and the youth. A cooking contest through meal preparation using locally available ingredients like soybean and indigenous vegetables was participated in by five groups of senior high school students coming from Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School, Cabacungan National High School, La Castellana National High School, and La Granja National High School.  Among the very palatable and mouthwatering meals prepared by different schools, the La Granja National High School won the first prize with their entry: Curried Okara Nuggets, Fried Okara Siomai, Soymilk Black Sambo and Soy Ampalaya Smoothie. Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School made it to second place with their entry: Pangat sa Pasta, Curry Tofu sa Buko, Ginisang Utan, Tofu-Bolabola with Pinoy Pesto, Shrimp ala Cucumber and Kalabasang Leche Flan and Pandamansi.  Third place was awarded to La Castellana National High School for their entry: Soychi Tofu with high protein Vegetable, Spinach Crisp, Buko Soy and Camote Lemonade with Ginger. All participating schools received cash prizes, certificates of participation, and vegetables seeds. Needless to say, the smiles of victory can be seen on the happy faces of the winning participants.

This year’s field day was indeed unique, having the presence of exceptional group of agricultural experts sharing their time and technical know-how among farmers, students, extension workers, researchers, and agricultural stakeholders.****bpilagranjastaff.

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