The road to Hungduan, Ifugao is now concrete. Although not all road parts are 2 lanes and there are few meters that are not completely cemented, I laud the government officials of Ifugao for their effort in implementing their farm to market road/ provincial highway projects.
I arrived safely and really happy there for my personal long weekend. As I do revive my purpose for existence and reconnecting to my roots (my parents are from Hungduan, Ifugao) I have pondered on many ideas that I would like to share as a young Agriculturist/ Agripreneur wannabe.
I believe that somehow these ideas will be surely implemented in the near future. If not by me, maybe someone out there will think of these things. I would be really happy and will appreciate it because this is not about me but for the advancement of Ifugao people-if they will profit and progress from it as long as the environment will be taken care of and the Ifugao culture will be preserved.
So here are the 20 ideas for agricultural research, development, and enterprise:
- Rice terraces soil testing analysis using Minus-One-Element-Testing. It might sound absurd but what are the possible differences between MOET results of different elevetion? It might answers questions like what are the indegenous elements present in the soil of terraces? Is there a need to use higher amount of NPK source? Will the traditional varieties be responsive to commercial fertilizer source? What would be the extent of usage which are economical and environment friendly? As to PhilRice who would market MOET-this is a huge impact and source of incomeJ
- Responsiveness of traditional varieties planted in Ifugao Rice Terraces to commercial NPK source and recommendation targeting 5 ton yield/ha.As of the moment, I have a limited knowledge on the commercial rice production practices of farmers up in the terraces but base on previous studies conducted by PhilRice, the elite lines tested yielded up to 4 tons/ha at Kiangan and Banaue, Ifuago. At the PhilRice Isabela station, traditional varieties planted for varietal demonstration yielded up to 7 tons/ha. Maybe a higher yield can be achieved if farmers target higher yield and increase their awareness to the possibility of increasing their input application.
- Advancement of rice production through mechanization (microtiller and micromill). The farmers really need this to increase their productivity.
- Discovering the efficacy of Dol-ak plant and other plants found in Ifugao as moluscicide and insecticide.
- Rehabilitation of abandoned rice terraces.
- Enhancement/ establishment of nature parks as an income generating project. This idea sprung from my envy of Ilagan Sanctuary at Ilagan, Isabelathat I visited twice but I never rode their zip line. What if there is a long cable from one mountain to another and in between you will see the beautiful spider terraces. I really love that kind of adventure!
- Pelleted Organic Fertilizer Enterprise Development from Ifugao. The source of materials there have least chance of contamination. This will be a window to discover the wealth of forest leaves, weeds, and humus abundant at the place.
- Mushroom production, processing, and marketing. The climate is very conducive for low temperature loving mushrooms.
- Cut flower production, processing, and marketing. The cool climate is conducive for the cut flowers like chrysanthemum, sun flowers and others just like in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcya.
- Strawberry production, processing, and marketing. The people only need to imitate Benguet growers, being hardworking, entrepreneurial, and patient.
- Vegetable nursery for high value crops for lowland ecosystem. The climate and abundance of water are good for this enterprise at Ifugao because along the highway there are nurseries of fruit bearing trees.
- Lime production from fresh water mollusks. The cost of lime in Isabela is Php60/kg used as additive when doing “Momma” and added to mushroom substrate as source of calcium. The lime from mollusks shells can be added to the organic fertilizer as calcium source.
- Development of ROBOHAULERS/ DRONE haulers from the steep side of the mountains. Filipinos are talented, I believe in the near future these will be marketed. I hope this will be affordable to Ifugao farmers or this futuristic idea will be custom made for them.
- Efficiency testing of manual transplanter imported/ imitated from China/India. This will greatly help farmers if versions of this manual transplanter will be lighter and below 10 kg.
- Construction of tramlines and cable cars for agricultural crops and tourists.
- Small wood crafts (Key chains, home décor, specialty decors) production for export marketing.
- Agritourism farm with prayer, recollection, and themed park resort modeling and enterprise demonstration. A Japanese village, Korean village, or other Asian/Filipino culture in mountanious areas.
- Training on growing agripreneurs among secondary students, teachers, farmers and government employees.
- Business establishment offering agricultural products and services.
- Seed production of modern cool elevated and traditional rice varieties.
According to Cynthia Villar, supporting the small farmers will help the Philippine economy.
Ifugao farmers seem only a small group compared to farmers at the lowland ecosystem but their growth in terms of sustainable agricultural livelihood will increase their chances to contibute more to the Philippine economy and it will serve as a show window to inspire other people living in the mountainous areas also.