More strawberry produce is being eyed in Mountain Province as 96 farmer-enrollees were confirmed graduates of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera’s School-on-Air (SOA) course on Strawberry Production and Management.
The farmer-graduates from the five strawberry producing municipalities namely Sabangan, Sagada, Bauko, Besao, and Bontoc have completed the course requirements particularly assessment and practicum, which are pre-requisites for graduation.
SOA Subject Matter Specialist Samy M. Lang-ay who served as the guest speaker encouraged the graduates to continue their interest in strawberry farming and apply what they have learned, noting that strawberry farming was able to produce the needs of his family as well as his siblings who are also strawberry farmers.
“I believe that you, graduates, will be able to handle strawberry farming. I just want to add that we need lots of patience, pail full of industriousness, strong dedication, back-to-back strategies added with great love and most importantly, by always referring it to God,” Lang-ay said.
Regional High Value Crops Development Program focal person Joan D. Bacbac said that strawberry was identified as a high value commodity and is relevant in the province because they already have strawberry production sites in some municipalities.
She added that the SOA has allowed for the transfer of information and knowledge considering that face-to-face learning was limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are thankful because we gained knowledge despite the pandemic. We also realized that strawberry is very profitable and has a lot of health benefits,” Safe B. Pekas who was named the top performing student.
The other best performing students were Julie Sano-an and Analyn Khayad.
In his message, DA-Cordillera OIC-Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey also encouraged the farmer-graduates to comply with the government requirements such as registering to the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture and applying for DA accreditation to avail of agriculture-related assistance.
He added that they should continue with their farming activities while abiding by the good agricultural practices towards a more sustainable farming.
The three-month SOA course was aired through Radyo Sagada, a radio station located in Poblacion, Sagada.
The graduation ceremony was witnessed by Besao Mayor Johnson Bantog II; Sabangan Mayor Marcial Lawilao, Jr.; Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey; Sagada Councilor Paul Domoguen who represented Mayor James Pooten; Provincial Administrator Johnny Co who represented Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr.; and representatives from the provincial and municipal agriculture offices who facilitated the implementation of the SOA in the field. –
Janice B. Agrifino