As part of the initiatives under the Adaptive Balanced Fertilization Strategy (ABFS), a two-day technical briefing cum Capacity Building was conducted by the DA-BSWM through the Soil and Water Resources Research Division (SWRRD) at Iloilo Sports Complex Covered Court, and at Brgy. Dawis, Pototan in Iloilo City on May 10-11, 2023 respectively. The activity was spearheaded by the Soil and Water Access Team (SWAT) Region 6 Focal and SWRRD Chief, Dr. Karen S. Bautista. The composition of its multi-disciplinary team included – Engr. Corazon Ditarro, Assistant Regional Focal (WRMD), Ms. Angelita Marcia, Jacqueline Rojales (SWRRD), Filipina Ventigan (SCMD), Engr. Renz Kriztian Briol, Mr. Jerry Paul Arciaga (SWRRD), and Mr. Benedict Dela Cruz (PMU).

The two-day event which was participated by the farmers and stakeholders in the area were provided with Training on ABFS. The training was divided into two parts – Technical Briefing, and Capacity Building. This was undertaken to orient the community and do the necessary preparations in the adoption of the technology. Dr. Karen S. Bautista discussed the following topics 1) Key Principles of the ABFS, 2) its Legal Bases, 3) Protocol, and Recommendations. It also highlighted the 4) Roles and Responsibilities of the DA-BSWM, DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO), Local Government Unit (LGU), and the farmers in the implementation of technology. In her presentation, Dr. Bautista further emphasized the importance of soil and water in food production, and proper management of soils, in increasing the rice productivity in Western Visayas.

Other topics presented included the – Details of the ABFS Protocol as discussed by Ms. Angelita C. Marcia; the Workplan, and Agro-Socio-Economic (ASE) Survey were presented by Engr. Renz Kriztian P. Briol. The Team also conducted gathering/ survey of farmer’s information as input to ASE. This was facilitated by the other team members headed by Ms. Jacqueline S. Rojales and Ms. Filipina Ventigan.

The first day of the event was graced by Mr. Dominador A. Marquez (RTD for Operations, DA-RFO 06), attended by other DA-RFO key staff, Representatives from PLGU – Iloilo, and 10 representatives from different LGUs. The second day was participated by 80 farmers from Bangga Dawis Pototan Iloilo Farmers Credit Cooperative (farmer beneficiaries of ABFS), DA-RFO VI, PLGU – Iloilo and LGU – Pototan headed by Mr. Gilbert Quiambao – Municipal Agriculturist, Mr. Alex B. Arsomende, Barangay Captain and its staff.

RTD Marquez expressed his gratitude to DA-BSWM in providing support and technical assistance. He mentioned that ABFS will be of great contribution in the region because of their low regional average yield per hectare (3.41 mt/ha) in rice production compared to the national average yield per hectare (4.11 mt/ha) as of CY 2022. Mr. Quimbao also thanked the DA-BSWM for choosing their municipality as the techno demo site, and manifests his support and interest to the ABFS. He added that ABFS is an effective approach and strategy to address the declining soil fertility level in the municipality.

The DA-BSWM is implementing and promoting the Adaptive Balanced Fertilization Strategy (ABFS) nationwide. The ABFS is a science-based farming method which focused on the use of cost-efficient and proper combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers to enhance rice productivity and reduce the cost of production while ensuring soil health.