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US firm to help Pinoy rice, corn farmers hike output

DAVAO CITY—A global agriculture company has committed to set up farm schools in the Philippines where they can train rice and corn planters, and expose them to technologies that can improve their productivity.

Corteva Agriscience said it signed a memorandum of understanding  with the Department of Agriculture  on Friday. The DA said the MOU was a “collaboration to establish rice and corn educational farms [EduFarms] towards a food secure Philippines.”

The company said the collaboration would focus on three projects: Rice EduFarm, Corn EduFarm and Fall Armyworm Mitigation.

“Rice and corn smallholder farmers from across 40 municipalities would benefit from 80 EduFarms and 800 Techno Farms covering a total of 50,000 hectares,” Corteva said in a statement sent to BusinessMirror.

The Techno Farms would serve as educational training facilities across the Philippines, it added.

“The project aims to improve Filipino farmers’ rice and corn productivity and profitability through access to agronomic education, as well as new seed and crop protection technologies,” it said.

The educational farms would provide farmers with “season-long, on-field and in-classroom training.”

The topics would cover a wide range of issues—land and seed preparation, farm mechanization, planting density, weed control nutrient management, insect and disease control, harvesting and processing, marketing and financial management.

“Across Asia, Corteva Agriscience’s focus is on enabling smallholder farmers to produce more and help put food on every table. We are also playing our part in supporting nations achieve their food security and self-sufficiency goals,” the
company said.

Corteva said it wanted to help shape the future of agriculture in the country by providing better access to agronomic education, as well as seed and crop protection technologies.

Farra Siregar, managing director at Corteva Agriscience for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said the company wants to train Filipino farmers “to help them flourish and better contribute to the success of [their] nation’s economy.”

The company said the DA will soon encourage “progressive” farmers in eligible municipalities to participate in the EduFarms. The project will start in November and the first batch of students will graduate in May 2020.

Headquartered in the United States, Corteva became an independent public company in June. It used to be an agriculture division of DowDuPont, which was formed following the completion of the merger between DuPont and Dow Chemical in 2017.

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