INFANTA–The Cawaynin Organic Farmers Association (COFA) together with people’s organizations from the MASIPAG Provincial Consultative Body of North Quezon, and barangay leaders, celebrated the success of COFA’s trial farm by staging a Farmers Field Day (FFD). FFD is a tradition within MASIPAG farmers wherein farmers organizations open their trial farms to other farmer-members to show and pick the best-performing rice varieties.
The activity started with a few introductions from participants and visitors and an orientation on FFD. Afterwards, the farmers went to the trial farm and inspected the agronomic characteristics of each rice variety. They are expected to pick the top 10 varieties from the trial farm. Farmers compare the growth and performance of each variety, even comparing it with the varieties they cultivate in their own farms. After the inspection, the farmers had a brief sharing with other participants on their own experiences on sustainable food production.
Farmer-to-farmer exchanges staged in farms bring out the rich knowledge of farmers acquired from their own practices. Farmers shared their critiques on chemical-intensive production where one shared that if they are to be under huge debt from purchasing inputs, they might as well not farm at all. One farmer even said that even though yield may increase through hybrid seeds, the soil will suffer from accompanying harmful chemicals. Rehabilitation is possible but they said that it will take a long time, citing narratives of farmers who converted to organic production.
They also mentioned that farming is a continuous learning process even for farmers, but only through the practice of sustainable agriculture and assertion of freedom in their own farms will they be able to further enrich their knowledge and develop more practices.
After the discussion, the top 10 varieties in the trial farm were announced. The activity ended with another set of sharings from farmers and other participants.###