SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office in Cordillera Administrative Region ( (DA-RFO CAR) had launched its maiden Cordillera Regional Corn Derby Field Day to showcase the highly-productive corn varieties in the region.

Gerardo Banawa, the DA RFO CAR corn coordinator, said the corn product exposition, which was held in Busilac, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao on September 15-18, 2020, was focused on searching for the most productive and profitable corn variety for highland farmers.

“The corn derby aims to provide farmers on-hand experience in corn variety selection, company business presentations on featured corn seeds, farm tour, farming consultation, and corn crop cut inspection,” said Banawa.

The Corn showoff was participated by six top-performing hybrid seed companies such as Asian Hybrid Seed Technologies Incorporated (Inc.), Bioseed Research Philippines Inc., Cornworld Breeding Systems Corporation, Corteva Agriscience Inc., Bayer Crop Science Inc. (Dekalb), and Syngenta Philippines Inc.

Sixty-four farmers from 10 barangays in Alfonso Lista attended the activity while 30 more farmers participated from four barangays in Aguinaldo, Ifugao.

A total of 12 varieties planted, composed of two entries per company, were judged according to fresh weight, shelling recovery and dried weight to hail the “Masaganang Ani Award.”

With an estimated yield of 9,006 kilograms per hectare (Kg/ha), Syngenta Philippines Inc. (NK8840) was hailed as the champion, overthrowing five other corn seed companies. Corteva Agriscience Inc. (P3585YHR) clinched as the first runner-up with 8,892 Kg/ha estimated yield. Further, Bioseed Research Philippines Inc. (H102G) and Syngenta Philippines Inc. (NK6410BtGT) faired as third runner-up and fourth runner-up respectively. Syngenta Philippines Inc. was also dubbed as the Farmers Choice Award.

With an average yield of 3.93 metric ton/hectare (MT/ha) yellow corn and 2.5 MT/ha white corn, the Cordillera continuously embarks on upscaling corn production.

Ifugao has a total of 28,731 ha corn area with 18,468 ha planted in Alfonso Lista and 4,835 ha corn area in the municipality of Aguinaldo (PSA, 2019).

Banawa added the corn derby as a techno-demo farm was assessed to have produced six to nine MT/ha of yellow corn surpassing the five MT/ha target for model farms and three MT/ha target for white Open-Pollinated Variety (OPV).

Meanwhile, DA RFO CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey emphasized the importance of farm clustering and consolidation in agricultural interventions.

Odsey stressed that by organizing groups or cooperatives, corn farmers would be able to seek DA assistance easily noting the efficient and focused monitoring of their development.

“One of DA’s objectives is to increase the amount of corn production in the region through assistance in seed, fertilizers, drying facility, and farm machineries distribution to be concentrated in farm clusters. This will allow efficient replication and strengthened ripple effect among farmer-beneficiaries to create economies of scale in agriculture,” explained Odsey.

Under the DA Administrative Order (AO) number 27 series of 2020, Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program focuses on grouping together crops, livestock, and fish producers in a community on the basis of proximity of their production areas, the similarity of inputs, shared production activities, processes, and common final product towards unified management of production activities, sourcing of inputs, access to financing, processing logistics, storage, marketing, and enhanced quality of produce.

As of now, 16 farm clusters from Alfonso Lista, 7 farm clusters from Aguinaldo, and three farm clusters from Paracelis have been accredited by DA-CAR.

Corn Grower Guilbert Daguio expressed his gratitude on the corn seeds distributed by the DA. He said that the two bags of certified seeds provided “helped boost their harvest last season amidst challenges on drought and the current COVID-19 pandemic.”