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Enhancing the production while promoting the utilization of soybean and soybean products in Ilocos Region, the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office I through the Research and Development (R&D) Division engaged Ilocano farmers in a research project entitled “Enhancing organic soybean production and processing for improved local supply and utilization in Region I.”

Led and managed by Ms. Melinda Calumpit, the project covered a total of eight (8) municipalities with 9.5 hectares involving 10 farmer-cooperators in the region.

Funded by the DA-Bureau of Research (BAR), the project aims to enhance organic soybean production and processing for improved local supply and utilization in region 1; improving the soil properties such as physical, chemical and biological properties, as well as providing health benefits to humans and animals for its food and feed use.

Soybean (Glysine max) is a leguminous crop that can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere thru the bacteria living in the roots. It can be made into tokwa, taho, soya milk, soy sauce, cookies and texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and other sepal-based products. A protein-rich foods and with high lunacin content (anti-cancer), this crop is a versatile crop because all of its parts can be converted into something that is useful.

“The residues when threshed is a good substrate in mushroom production while its hull or the soybean pods when grind can be used for feeds of animals,” Ms. Calumpit said.
Mr. Ruel Atanacio, 38, one of the farmer-cooperators from Brgy. Bacsil in San Juan, Ilocos Sur was among the 10 farmer-cooperators who was encouraged to plant soybean in his 3.5 hectares farm.

The other farmer-cooperators came from Labrador, Pangasinan and Luna, La Union who planted 1.5 has. and 1 ha., respectively. In Ilocos Sur, the farmer cooperators came from Candon City and San Emilio who planted 0.7 ha and 0.3 ha., respectively. Also, farmers in San Nicolas and Burgos in Ilocos Norte planted 1ha. and 3 has., respectively.

To encourage them to plant this emerging crop, DA through the R&D Division provided planting materials with seeding rate of 50 kg per hectare using the plant now and pay later scheme. Aside from seeds, another intervention of the project is the provision of seed inoculants, biocontrol agents, concoctions, organic fertilizers and technical assistance which were given prior to planting.

The variety used in the project is the PSB SY2 variety which was considered by Ms. Calumpit as the most adaptable soybean variety in Ilocos Region.

With the allocated budget of P1 million, the project leader hopes to sustain the production, product development as well as promotion and advocacy of the project as it sets to provide processing and production machineries and equipment such as grinder, extractor, tofu maker, oven for cookies, sealer and freezer. The harvester, sorter and other farm machinery equipment needed in the production and post harvest production shall also be provided to the farmers to enhance their production yield from the existing 1.2 tons/ha to 1.7 tons/ha under organic system of production and 1.5 to 2.5 tons/ha. under the conventional way of planting soybean.

“Once all these interventions will be in place, we are optimistic that we could add up to the more than a thousand hectare area planted with soybean nationwide,” Ms. Calumpit said.

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