To respond to the call to pursue effective and efficient water use and to mitigate the effects of climate change, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) held a consultation workshop on the conduct of "Farmer Water School" (FWS).
This FWS aims to "Enhancing Agricultural Production By Sustainable Use of Shallow Ground-water". The consultation training is being held through the Australian Center For International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded project.
The training was started in January 2009 with participants of farmers from Burgos and Pasaquin, Ilocos Norte. It will end in June 2009.
According to Dr. Silverio Q. Tejada, executive director of the BSWM, the project seeks to impart practical knowledge and skills to farmers to estimate groundwater balance that will serve as basis to make critical and wise decision through crop planning.
This process of estimating groundwater balance is highly technical that requires basic knowledge to arrive at informed decision. This requires also keen observation on the part of the farmers.
According to Tejada, BSWM signed an agreement with the farmers of Ilocos Norte to pursue this joint Farmer Water School.
The FWS trainers are the 22 agricultural technologists who attended and passed the BSWM trainers’ training.
In Aklan, surface waters in its river system are just free flowing direct to the sea. It is being used as passage of bamboos from Libacao and Madalag destined for Kalibo. Sometimes, logs float, drain on water to Kalibo or Ibajay. Sometimes, children and even adults who enjoy in the rivers are drowned. Actually, waters in Aklan’s river system are yet to find its place in agricultural production. If these waters are only harnessed for farm production, agricultural products such as rice and vegetable will be available at cheaper cost and of high quality.
In Aklan, ground-water is pumped out by some individual houses for its domestic use. Metro Kalibo Water District pumps out the ground-water in Banga and Kalibo for distribution to its water concessionaires in Kalibo, New Washington, Balete and Banga at P34 per cubic meter. Also, Numancia Water District pumps out ground water in Numancia and distributes it at P24 per cubic meter to its water concessionaires.
Considering that rice is a water loving plant, it requires 5,000 kilograms of water to produce one kilogram palay, it must command and be bought much higher than the NFA buying price.
On the other hand, water districts in Aklan may review its costing in water pumping and distribution to arrive at a cost mutually beneficial to both water districts and water concessionaires.
With this, BSWM – Ilocos Norte agreement on the use of shallow groundwater project, there is urgent call for collective action towards groundwater management to review now to preserve water for the future generation.
Aklan cannot allow its groundwater and river water unutilized and unpreserved.
High Value Crops Commercialization
The local governments of Ormoc City and Biliran Province on one hand and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) on the other, agreed on a joint project to promote the production and commer-cialization of high value crops such various kinds of vegetables.
Ms. Imelda T. Remollo, City Agriculturist of Ormoc City leads the project with the members of the Ormoc Federation of Vegetable Growers as farmers cooperators/beneficiaries. The project aims to grow and produce vegetables for export to Tacloban and Cebu Cities.
The vegetable farmers federation is composed of 76 farmers from 21 barangays whose seed needs are provided by East West Seed Company such as tomato, eggplant and sweet pepper.
The same project is being followed in Biliran province under the leadership of the Provincial Agriculturist of Biliran.
This vegetable projects consist of three components which are: 1. establishment of vegetable nursery as source of planting materials, 2. the production of teaching materials, and 3. periodic evaluation of the project with the guidance of BAR.
May this project be duplicated in Aklan for the production of vegetables to supply the food needs of Boracay Island resort and the need of the Ati-Atihan town of Kalibo. This is assistance to farmers not yet available to them.
The municipality of Libacao is proven to successfully produce cauliflower, cabbage and asparagus. Boracay may become gold mine of Libacaonons should farmers there produce vegetable in commercial quantity, Libacao is seldom visited by typhoon and flood. Vegetable production is ideal. /MP