By Josephine Asuncion R. Emoy
The undeniable effect of COVID-19 pandemic to the farmers in the local community in terms of food security has become a major concern in the local and national government. Particularly, in Negros Occidental and in the entire Region VI where most of the agricultural land is planted with sugarcane, while other land areas are being converted to subdivisions, industrial parks and resorts that diminishes the areas allotted for agriculture, innovative strategies must be made so as to ensure rice sufficiency and food security especially during this time of the pandemic.
Responding to this crisis, CPSU has initiated practical methods to answer this dilemma through a sugarcane-upland rice intercropping system. This strategy promises maximum land returns by doubling the land production. This system, which is usually done by simultaneously planting two or more crops in the same piece of land, makes the most of the available soil while providing diverse and stabilized field. This, in turn, guarantees increased productivity and income for the farmers.
Headed by its project leader, Dr. Aladino Moraca, CPSU president, together with Dr. Angelie Rose Lumba, Research and Development Director, and Dr. Salvador Castor, Jr., Dean of the College of Agriculture and Forestry, the project took off last August 2020 at CPSUs reservation area located in Brgy. Tagukon, Kabankalan City. Utilizing a total of 5 hectares, the main crop, sugarcane, is intercropped with various traditional upland rice varieties such as Kalubid, Malagaya, along with many others. These were being planted 12 days after the main crop has been lodged.
Just few meters from this location is another project of the University in partnership with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist – SRA, known as the Techno-demo Sugarcane Upland Rice. With a total of 4 hectares, the land is intercropped with sugarcane and upland rice NSIC-27. This collaboration with the Province is a sealed commitment that promises innovation and food security in the province and the region, as a whole.
Meanwhile, during the first harvest of sugar-cane rice intercropping in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, Gov. Eugenio “Bong” Lacson acknowledges and commends Dr. Moraca for the initiatives that CPSU has taken in contributing to the food security and economic sustainability in the community.
“This method can answer social concerns on food security, rice sufficiency, and economic stability especially of the local farmers in the community,” Dr. Moraca stated.
This project is just one of the many technologies and innovations that CPSU has placed forward as part of its goal to generate and provide leading technologies that could alleviate lives of the community through agriculture as its flagship program.