In an effort to revive the irrigated soils in the province of Ilocos Norte brought by the development of nutrient deficiency in the rice areas of the province, the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos Region through its Research and Development Division, in partnership with the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) launched the Yamang Lupa-SCALE-UP Project at the Dingras Civic Center, Dingras, Ilocos Norte on Agust 31, 2022.

The YL-SCALE-UP project or the Yamang Lupa: Sustainable Community-Based Action R4DE for Livelihood Enhancement, Upliftment and Prosperity in Ilocos Norte is a holistic farming model opportunity for irrigated areas that aims to empower farming communities through a community-based, science-led and policy-driven approaches and initiatives to manage and revive soil condition thereby improving the productivity and income of farmers.

A project involving farmers from the four pilot municipalities in Ilocos Norte like Dingras, Solsona, Bacarra and Vintar, it comprises four program components such as the Program Management Structure and Policies, Productivity Enhancement and Natural Resources Management Towards Sustainable Farming, Capability Building and Community Empowerment and Sustainable Livelihood, Marketing and Income Enhancement.

In his message during the launching program, OIC-BAR Director Sailila Abdula challenged the farmer-cooperators during the launching program especially the local government units to pass a resolution to make use of the available technologies generated by the research institutions like BAR in order to improve farmers’ productivity and income.

He likewise reminded the participants to properly assess the condition and available nutrients of the soil that they are farming so they could be able to provide the proper kind and amount of nutrients to supply for a more productive farming result.

Keen on providing innovations in the agri-sector, he encouraged the farmer-cooperators to plan ahead for needed interventions so that they may be able to maximize the assistance from the government.

“Let us be open to new innovations. We have no choice, except now. Kung gusto nating matulungan tayo ng ating gobyerno na maiangat ang ating kabuhayan, start within ourselves,” Dir. Abdulah said.

Meanwhile, to provide the participants information and guidance on how they could further enhance soil nutrients, Dr. Jocelyn Zarate, an expert of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology shared a Lecture on Essential Plant Nutrient Elements and Bio-fertilizers.

According to Dr. Zarate, while organic fertilizer as well as commercial or inorganic fertilizers are vital in the growth and development of the crops, balance fertilization is still the best strategy to manage crops due to the many benefits that it provides especially in improving the soil texture and nutrients that are essentially needed by the plants.

She likewise underscored the importance of practicing the use of soil test kit to determine what nutrients are lacking in the soil and do the incorporation of mungbean during land preparation to improve soil fertility.

Dr. Zarate also mentioned the use of improved varieties, mulching, drip irrigation, compost and bio-fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers as important strategies in enhancing the soil condition for sustainable crop production.
The YL:Scale up Program hopes to showcase convergence of technologies that could create strong impact in accelerating agricultural growth in the coutryside.###