“Ang mga binhi na ito ay napapakinggan namin sa Radyo at sa mga kwento ni Nay Virgie.” (At first, we only heard these seeds on the radio and in Nay Virgie’s stories.) This was the exciting and colorful farmer-to-farmer discussion of the Provincial Consultative Body of Quezon 2 regarding trial farming held last June 17, 2022. Ms. Virginia ‘Nay Virgie’ Nazareno, current Board of Trustees Chairperson, along with the seventeen farmers of Minahan Sur Organic Farmers Association (MSOFA), spearheaded the farmer-to-farmer sharing of methods and techniques on trial farming.
After the discussion was the actual seed-plot making and planting for the 50 organic rice seed varieties from MASIPAG Back-up Farm (BUF). Despite the vertical heat of the sun, farmer participants were all eager and excited to accomplish the construction of their trial farm. “Napakali po ng aming natutunan sa TF (trial farm) Strategy, ang pagsisinop ng mga pangalan ng mga binhi ay isa sa napakahalagang kaalaman, dahil dito ay nabibigyang halaga namin ang kapwa naming magsasaka na nagpunyagi upang makabuo ng isang lahi ng binhi- ng binhi na para sa lahat (We have gained so many insights and new knowledge in learning TF (trial farming) Strategy. Maintaining and documenting the organic seeds’ names and characteristics is such a fun yet crucial task not only for planting and cultivation per se, but as well as in honoring our fellow farmers who painstakingly bred these organic varieties- organic rice varieties that are free to use by every farmer. .) ” Tatay Pito said.
MASIPAG Trial farming is a strategy conceptualized by MASIPAG farmers where member farmer organizations plant a randomized 50 organic rice varieties from the BUF in their farm where the top ten performing varieties by the end of the cropping season shall be recorded and documented and be considered as the varieties apt for that farm’s environment. Many of the organic rice varieties given in trial farming were carefully bred by MASIPAG farmers and were therefore named after them. For example, one of our many drought-resilient rice varieties MDZ 2-1-1 stands actually for (M)ario (D)enito (Z)ambales – the name of the farmer who bred it, popularly known as the late Tata Maca from Zambales.
Therefore, for farmers like Tatay Pito, documenting and recording the organic seeds’ name is not only for planting and cultivation but also as a form of acknowledgment and gratitude to the selfless legacy of the mighty MASIPAG farmer rice breeders who only wants nothing but a secure and safe seed for all.
Following planting, farmers immediately develop a plan for the following operations which include transplanting, forming monitoring groups, and acquiring data using a Simplified Evaluation Sheet (SES). But what was highlighted in the said planning was the farmers’ resolution to revive and regularize the practice of BAYANIHAN effort on their trial farm and their own farms.
Trial farming is an integral component of MASIPAG’s program to collect, identify, maintain, multiply, and evaluate (CIMME) cultivars of rice and corn, indigenous vegetables, poultry, and livestock breeds. This program contributes to the network’s effort of creating self-sustenance and self-reliance among the farmers, realized by the POs through a trial farm strategy. CIMME ensures that collected species and varieties are maintained in on-field seed banks for farmers’ access.