A Mindanaoan Brings Improved Farming Technology to Mindoro
It is not unusual when a farmer from Luzon or from Visayas relocates to Mindano for good. What is quite unusual is when a Mindanaoan goes to Luzon and settles there to do his brand of farming.
That’s exactly the case of Jose Paquibongan, an agriculturist born in Bohol but who stayed in Mindanao for several years after graduating from college. Mindoro farmers he has been helping consider him a Mindanaoan rather than a Boholano. Joe finished an agriculture course at the Bohol State College in Bilar in 1984. Immediately after graduation, he went to Mati, Davao Oriental, to help a relative manage a diversified farm where they had coconut, coffee, cacao, guava and farm animals like hogs and goats.
For a number of years, he also worked as rice technician of the Farm Systems Development Corporation in Tagum, Davao del Norte. That was a government agency which was dissolved after President Corazon Aquino took over the helm of the government.
He then got employed by a seed company based in General Santos City as a technician to promote the production of hybrid corn varieties. After a while, in 1989, he was sent to Southern Luzon, based in Batangas, to take care of introducing improved corn production technologies in the region. Part of his coverage was Mindoro where vast areas are devoted to corn production.
One of the farmers he has helped who eventually became rich is Dhkila Eniego Danseco of Sitio Pandan, Brgy. Claudio Salgado in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Sablayan is a huge town with vast agricultural areas. It is said that the whole province of Cavite could fit in the town.
When Joe Paquibongan arrived in Sablayan, Danseco only had 2.8 hectares of land of his own. His father was an ordinary fisherman and the family had no landholdings. When Danseco married in 1975, however, he tried his hand on small-scale traditional farming.
Paquibongan introduced him to hybrid seeds and other improved techniques of corn production. One of the techniques popularized by him was the planting of one seed per hill. Danseco remembers that the farmers, including himself, were skeptical about the planting of one seed per hill because they were used to planting three or more seeds per hill.
Eventually, however, the farmers were sold to the new idea because they have seen the increase in production. The single seeds were planted at closer distances than the usual practice so the population count is about the same as the old practice. The difference is that the single plants produced bigger ears, hence higher yields. The same technique has been proven by small-scale corn farmers in Cebu who were trained to become farmer scientists under a program started by Dr. Romulo G. Davide in 1995.
The high yield that Danseco got with the new technology introduced by Paquibongan enabled him to buy more lands. Today he owns a total of 40 hectares. During the rainy season, he plants rice on more than 30 hectares but during the dry season, he plants the whole area to corn.
When the corn seed company ceased operation, Paquibongan retired in 2001 and decided to settle for good in Sablayan. Theie,he started to do his own farming, using the techniques he has been promoting to the farmers. He is now planting rice, corn and onions on seven hectares that he owns and three hectares mortgaged to him.
Today, aside from promoting the use of certified seeds, he is promoting the use of bio-organic fertilizers such as Durabloom. With the use of hybrid corn seeds and bio-organic fertilizer, Danseco now produces 4.8 to 9 tons of shelled corn per hectare. He produces three crops of corn a year. During the last season, he sold his harvest at P1 1.70 per kilo. It was a profitable crop.
Danseco has also found the use of bioorganic fertilizer in combination with chemical fertilizers to be highly effective in rice. He uses Durabloom not only in the production of commercial rice but also in certified rice seed production. Yes, he is an accredited certified seed producer after training at the Bureau of Plant Industry. Last season, he devoted four hectares to certified seed production and got 100 cavans per hectare which he sold at P1,200 per cavan. It was also a very profitable operation. All his certified seeds were bought by a cooperative that supplies seeds to
the Department of Agriculture.
Danseco observes that the rice plants applied with Durabloom have sturdy stalks so they don’t easily lodge. Lodging will greatly reduce yields. In addition, the plants produce a lot of tillers. One hill could produce as many as 20 to 30 tillers.
Aside from rice and corn, Danseco is also using bio-organic fertilizer on his onions. He plants three kinds of onions, namely the Red Pinoy with big bulbs, the native variety called Tanduyong, and the Batanes Jumbo. The organic fertilizer also produces high yield in onions.
Joe does not only promote the use of organic fertilizers to individual farmers. He is promoting the same through cooperatives like the Bukang Liwayway Multi-purpose Cooperative in Brgy. Ibud, Sablayan. Last season, a demonstration on the use of Durabloom was conducted in the farm of the cooperative headed by Teodoro Soria.
The result was very dramatic. The standing crop on the parcel that was applied with Durabloom during our visit was estimated to produce at least 120 cavans per hectare. On the other hand, the unfertilized parcel looked pitiful, the yield could not have exceeded 70 cavans per hectare.
Today, Joe Paquibongan is also busy promoting the use “of bio-organic fertilizer in other towns of Mindoro. He is effective in this activity because he has a long track record in helping the Mindoro farmers. He is happy and fulfilled in his adopted hometown of Sablayan.
By : Zac B. Sarian