DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña commended a group of organic farmers in Zarraga, Iloilo for providing scientific knowledge and cutting-edge technological innovations to the public
De la Peña cited the Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association (ZIDOFA) during his visit to its project site.
ZIDOFA promotes the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to help farmers achieve greater yield.
“Congratulations, you might be the first agricultural product to be endorsed in OneStore. This is something well accomplished,” said De la Peña.
DOST’s OneSTore is an e-commerce web application platform that operates nationwide and caters primarily to Philippine consumers which aims to further assist the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) widen the scope of their target market.
Originated in Madagascar in the 1980’s, the SRI can reduce plant population, water requirements, increase land productivity, and promote less reliance on artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other agrochemicals, all while buffering against the effects of climate change and reducing greenhouse gases.
ZIDOFA also presented a machine they are developing for weeding purposes. The research and development team of ZIDOFA plans to incorporate artificial intelligence to cover certain parameters in farming.
De la Peña suggested that ZIDOFA should register the technologies they invent to protect and also develop technologies not limited to rice production.
He added that the association may also work with the academe to gain support and further connections that would help the association in terms of funding and research and development.
ZIDOFA Chairman Joby Arandela also shared his gratitude in the support that they get from DOST.
“We are very thankful that DOST is supporting Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) like us. We hope to help the community here in Iloilo and the farmers to become productive and competitive because I believe that people from Western Visayas can compete not only here in the Philippines, but in the whole Asia as well.” Arandela said.
“Rest assured that DOST will be looking forward to supporting your future endeavors.” De la Peňa added.
ZIDOFA is an NGO dedicated to creating a closed-loop organic food value chain which covers the whole spectrum of activities in the chain. It helps small-farmers who are interested in converting some of their lands to organic farm areas undergo series of trainings and seminars. ZIDOFA’s assistance continues until post-harvest drying and milling, packaging and marketing. (DOST-6/JR Gabiota)