A SMART way to farm
Monsanto Philippines launched this February a nationwide farmer training program, dubbed SMART Farm, meant to teach smallholder corn growers across the country best farm management practices and the latest corn planting technologies.
In its first year, the program targets to reach out to over 20,000 farmers in different corn regions in the Philippines.
SMART Farm’s Center Of Excellence lead John Fajardo said that smallholder farmers (farmer owning small-based plots of land), who make up around 80 percent of all farmers in the country, are often challenged with rural isolation and limited agronomic know-how, which limit their potential for increased productivity and profitability.
Monsanto Philippines established 16 SMART Farms across the country where two to three days of lectures and hands-on workshops will be conducted each planting season. These demo farms also serve as a shop where farmers can buy high-yielding and disease-resistant corn seed products at competitive prices.
The training will be first conducted in Bugallon, Pangasinan. It will be followed by a series of trainings in other corn growing regions in Tarlac, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Capiz, and Iloilo.
“Through this program, we aim to further sustain the productivity of the sector and improve the profitability of the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers,” said Monsanto’s Corporate Engagement lead Charina Garrido-Ocampo.