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DAR eyes technology for boosting ARC's climate change resiliency

MANILA, July 6 – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) aims pilot-testing until October 2012 in Nueva Ecija province the no-tillage rice production technology it is considering for possible nationwide adaptation to help raise productivity and climate change resiliency of Philippine agrarian reform communities (ARCs).

Such technology from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) enables farmers to skip plowing irrigated areas, reducing their time, effort and cost for preparing land where they'll plant rice.

"Adapting new farming technologies is among our strategies to help make ARCs climate-resilient," said Rosalina Bistoyong, Undersecretary for DAR's Special Programs, Agrarian Reform Stakeholders Relations Office.

She said DAR continues looking into new technologies since farmers in ARCs are vulnerable to climate change.

Onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances and other climate change repercussions make it necessary for farmers to adapt alternative farming technologies and appropriate crop varieties, she noted.

"We're trying to climate-proof over three million agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who have been awarded land already — there's need to really follow through this gain," she said.

Introducing new technologies is part of DAR's support for farmer-ARBs nationwide to help improve their lives.

For the pilot-testing, Bistoyong said DAR identified two 'barangay' settlements in the Science City of Munoz and two others in Talavera municipality.

"DAR will evaluate the results of the pilot-testing before promoting no-tillage technology in over 2,500 ARCs nationwide," she said.

Bistoyong noted that PhilRice and DAR already signed the memorandum of agreement on the use of such technology.

PhilRice, a government agency attached to the Department of Agriculture (DA), is mandated to develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies that'll help farmers produce enough rice for the country.

"DA gave PhilRice about P584,000 for our no-tillage project," Bistoyong said.

On July 13, this year, DAR and PhilRice are scheduled to lead the Farmers' Field Day under such project.

The agencies will hold such event at Villa Cuizon in Nueva Ecija's Science City of Munoz. Bistoyong is scheduled to grace the event.

An estimated 150 ARBs will also attend the event, DAR said.

"There'll be transplanting and lectures on the demonstration farm," DAR added. (PNA) scs/CJT/utb

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