Friday, March 3, 2023 - 12:23

SCoPSA: Contouring the Corn Industry and the Environmental Landscape

It was a very sunny day when we visited the corn fields of Mr. Volter Jose, Constante Salvador and Benjie Ballesteros, corn farmers in Barangay San Dionisio II, Nagtipunan, Quirino. When we arrived at their corn fields, the smiles on their faces were like sunrise in the peaking on top of a mountain; it was picture perfect.

These trio were successful adopters  of Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas (SCoPSA) in the municipality of Nagtipunan. Thus, it is no surprise that they smile from ear-to-ear. This is because they can already see the abundant yield that they will earn this harvest season.

First in the making

Mr. Benjie, a father of two children, has been a corn farmer since 2005. He was the first to adopt the SCoPSA in Nagtipunan, Quirino back in 2013. His corn field is the training ground of different organizations to practice the adoption of SCOPSA to showcase the technology to other corn farmers. He trained in the season-long training on corn production of ATI-RTC 02 which involved the SCoPSA.
SCoPSA is a farming system introduced by the Department of Agricultue (DA) to enhance the productivity level of corn farmers through the promotion of a sustainable land use management that will enhance agricultural livelihood and restore ecological balance in sloping areas. Sloping lands in Nagtipunan are mostly used to plant corn. Since sloping lands are prone to soil erosion, SCoPSA was introduced to corns farmers like Mr. Benjie.

He learned about the establishment of contour lines which helps in soil conservation. This serves as a guide in establishing buffer strips or hedgerows which are vegetative barriers to prevent soil erosion. In Mr. Benjie’s corn field, he planted fruit-brearing trees such as calamansi, betel trees, rambutan, cacao, and banana.

He explained that these plants will not only help his corn crops, but also provide additional source of income. He sells the fruits to the local market. Also, decayed leaves and stalks from the trees may provide organic matter or fertilizer.
Eversince he adopted the technology, his frequent use of herbicides or weed killer sprays had been reduced. He learned that use of chemical sprays are detrimental to human and soil health, and the environment.

“Simula nang gumamit ako ng SCoPSA, nabawasan na ang paggamit ko ng herbicide and glyphosate dahil ayaw ko ng maabuso ang lupa,” Mr. Benjie said.

He took it upon himself to also share this system with his fellow corn farmers, because he believed in the saying that, “what is given to you, you must also give to others.”

Now, due to the high yield from corn planting through the use of SCOPSA, he now raise fishes in his man-made pond and manages a poultry house. Mr. Benjie believes that these food sources are also sources of income which bring his family a happy and sustainable future. 

Discovering Something New

Mr. Constante Salvador and Mr. Volter Jose are both corn farmers whose hearts are focused on carrying their parents legacy in farming. Farming is their major source of income. It is where they get the fund to send their kids to school and to support their family’s needs. Their hope is that through learning new technologies and practices in corn production, their yield and income will increase.

Constante and Volter are also adopters of the farming system-- SCOPSA. At first, not learning about SCoPSA early on brought many challenges to them. Mr. Constante said that when it rained, the soil and the fertilizers they applied are washed away with the eroded soil. This resulted to reduced yield and income.

“Malaki ang naitutulong ng SCoPSA dahil ang fertility ng lupa ay mape-preserve, at para ma-prevent ang soil erosion dahil sa hedgerows,” Mr. Volter said.

Both farmers thanked ATI-RTC 02 for being part of the training in SCOPSA in 2015. In the training, they were introduced to the innovative corn farming technologies to increase their yield and help the environment, too.

“Kung matututo ka ng bagong teknolohiya, makakatulong itong mapabuti ang kalidad ng lupa na maaarin mong maipamana sa mga susunod na henerasyon,” Mr. Constante said. He encourages his fellow farmers to attend trainings offered by the Department of Agriculture.

We need to change our habits, get out of our comfort zones and discover  new farming technologies.

Nagtipunan: As Agro-Tourist Destination

Through th Sanggunian Bayan Ordinance No.72 Series of 2020, Nagtipunan is the only municipality in Region 2 that has an ordinance on the practice of SCOPSA. In 2019, the municipality bagged the National Quality Corn Achievers Award (NQAA) for its outstanding performance towards the production of quality corn and the development of its corn industry.

According to Ms. Hedie Marquez, Municipal Agriculturist of Nagtipunan, SCOPSA opened new door of opportuniies to about 5,300 Nagtipunan corn farmers.

“The Agricultural Training Institute was very helpful. Because of them, we were able to share SCOPSA to our farmers. We can’t do it alone without the cooperation of different agencies, like ATI” Ms. Hedie said. 

The Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies like the ATI continue to train farmers on the utilization of SCoPSA to further increase corn production volume and help conserve the environment.

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