Sunday, 25 March 2012

DOST offers free consultancy services to Bicol farmers

Pineapples for sale in Daet. The Department of Agriculture researcher discovers technique to grow pineapple that meets export standards. 

LEGAZPI CITY: An unusual, but satisfying, connectivity is happening between farmers and specialists in the region. 

Farmers will have the chance to improve their productivity and ensure the quality of their products, for free, as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) intensifies their Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE) Program in the region, said Engr Jacinto Alexis, DOST provincial director of Albay.

The CAPE program aims to institutionalize effective farm management strategies to improve agricultural productivity.

It is done by providing consultancy teams to undertake productivity studies in any qualified small/medium scale agricultural enterprise including individual farmers, farmer cooperatives, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and local government units (LGUs). 

The consultancy teams, organized through the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), undertake productivity studies by personally visiting the farm of the qualified beneficiaries.  

After the study is made, matching session between the teams and the farmer beneficiary is done to identify problems, areas for intervention, and possible solutions and recommendations such as providing the needed technical tools and strategies for proper farm management. 

To avail of the said assistance, farmers must make a formal request to the nearest provincial or regional DOST office for endorsement to the TAPI. 

Included in the request are background information on the farm, type of technical assistance needed, and expertise required.

According to PD Alexis the program is a one-time assistance given to 10 farmers for every batch.
Although participation to the program is free of charge, the farmer beneficiary must also be committed and cooperative to the consultancy teams for the solutions and recommendations to be effective.

Currently, the program has benefitted farmers in the region which improved productivity mangoes in Masbate, cassava in Camarines Sur, pineapple in Camarines Norte, and sweet potato in Ligao City.  -  PIA V- Albay

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