GREENHOUSE. The greenhouse with a solar panel is part of the model farm turned over by the National Irrigation Administration in Davao Region (NIA-11) on July 27, 2022, to the Palayan ng B'laan Communal Irrigation Association, Inc. in New Cabasagan, Matanao, Davao del Sur. The PHP1-million model farm also comprised of a 403.90sqm open field farmland with a storage tank, drip irrigation, sprinklers, a solar-powered pump, and a solar panel. (Photo from NIA-11)

DAVAO CITY – An irrigator association (IA) in Davao del Sur is aiming for diversified farming after the National Irrigation Administration in Davao Region (NIA-11) turned over a newly completed and fully functional model farm.

In an interview on Saturday, April Pearl Naguita, NIA-11 public relations officer said the Palayan ng B’laan Communal Irrigation Association, Inc. in New Cabasagan, Matanao, Davao del Sur received the model farm in a turnover ceremony on July 27.

She said the PHP1 million worth model farm comprised of a 403.90sqm open field farmland, a 202 sqm. greenhouse structure, a storage tank, drip irrigation, sprinklers, a solar-powered pump, and a solar panel.

Naguita added that the farmers would be able to cultivate high-value crops such as strawberries, lettuce, and tomato.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Apostol, NIA-11 regional manager, assured support and guidance to the beneficiaries in managing the farm.

“They will reap not only the potential increase in income brought by diversified farming but to contribute to the food self-sufficiency and food security of their community,” he added.

Apostol also emphasized that the sustainability of the model farm depends on the cooperation and involvement of the IA’s members and officers.

To fully capacitate the IA for the model farm, NIA-11 also enlisted them under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty Program (EPAHP), a convergence of different government agencies, academe, and local government units that helps specific farmers’ groups in their livelihood.

Through EPAHP, farmer-beneficiaries are provided with various technical training and capacity building, financial assistance, marketing links, and agreements that will help them from the production up to securing marketing channels of their harvests.

As a response, Antonio Atamosa, president of the IA beneficiary accepted the task for the operation and maintenance of the model farm on behalf of the 184 members of the association and vowed to take care of the project.

He said their group has started to adopt the techniques and technologies of the new crops through training and technical supervision of an agronomist for one cropping season. (PNA)