Manila Bulletin

Farmers’ Day Out

When upland farmers take center stage

In 2021, USAD was chosen as one of the Top 10 Outstanding Local Governance Programs in the country. “This recognition is not only a testament to the hard work and strong collaboration of local government units, various government agencies and farmer-enrollees, but it is also an inspiration to launch more innovative programs that will improve people’s lives,” said District 2 Representative Adolph Edward “Eddiebong” Plaza of Agusan del Sur of the recognition.

USAD came into existence after the super typhoon Pablo struck the province. Most of the barangays hit by the typhoon were destroyed. In order for them to rise from the devastation, Plaza, who was then the provincial governor, provided the affected farmers with farm inputs and proper technology.

USAD was launched in 2012 and piloted the following year with seven barangays in three municipalities. “USAD Program aims to contribute in reducing poverty incidence of the province by providing access to various projects to upland communities through convergence approach and extending helping-hand to different offices in conducting various activities in the barangays under the program,” explained Maricar Prochina, the USAD focal person in-charge.


Farmers who joined the program are called “farmer enrollees.” “They were identified through a selection process based on the recent community-based monitoring system data,” said Prochina. Farmers who are recorded as “poor” were given priority to be enrolled in the program.

As members, they have the following privileges: receive farm inputs and materials from planting up to production stage and undergo capacity development in terms of training, seminars, and benchmarking, among others. They are also provided with market linkages for their produce.

As enrollees, however, farmers have some responsibilities. Aside from their willingness to be part of the program, they should be willing to make a counterpart for the maintenance and sustainability of the project given to them.


introduced to them. In addition, they should not, in any way, do something that could damage and harm the given project. In case the farmer enrollee needs to sell or dispose of the given project, he or she needs to consult and inform the focal person-charge first.

Since its inception, there are now 5,615 farmer enrollees. Opening program

“Farmers are our national heroes,” said Rep. Alfel M. Bascug of the First District of Agusan del Sur in his inspirational message during the opening program. “They are the pride of our land. They are the backbone of the nation.”

The USAD Farmers’ Day was divided into two activities.

The morning activity was spent on soil health forum with the theme: “Kahimsug sa yuta alang sa madagayaong ani” (A healthy soil for bountiful harvest).

In his message, Governor Santiago B. Cane, Jr. admitted that he is also a farmer, but he failed most of the time because when it comes to farming, he practices willy-nilly or hit and miss technique.

“I apply fertilizer and pesticides without technical knowhow,” Gov. Cane pointed out. The result: he spent more money on farm inputs and the production was less than he was expecting.

That’s why he is batting for soil testing among farmers. “Our aim here is to increase their yield and reduce their costs,” he said. If the soil is tested first, farmers get to know what kind of crops could be planted in their farms and what kind of fertilizers should be applied for optimum production.

Rep. Plaza agreed. “We want to emphasize that the previous practice of continuously providing fertilizer without considering the consequences, such as making the soil acidic due to excessive fertilizer application, is no longer acceptable,” he said in his speech.

Three invited speakers shared their presentation during the day. Dr. Johnvie B. Goloran, a soil scientist, convinced farmers why they need to know their soil before tilling them. “Fertilizers are good for your farm but you need to know what kind of fertilizer to apply and how much fertilizer should you apply,” he said.

Two ladies – Dr. Adeflor G. Garcia and Dr. Purificacion O. Cahatian – expounded their topics on soil science and friendly insects of soils, respectively. All three were involved in projects supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.


In the afternoon, the contest proper was simultaneously held. The theme was: “Abunda nga agrikultura para sa mag-uuma ug mauswagong ekonomiya.” (An abundant agriculture for farmers and progressive economy.)





Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp