Ensuring the public that there is enough food supply amidst the continuing enhanced community quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos Region has re-aligned P10 million from its Research & Development (R&D) fund for the implementation of the project “Re-focusing R&D Actions towards Food Security” through the IFED or Enhancing Innovative Family Enterprise Development.

Taking guidance from DA-RFO I Regional Executive Director Lucrecio R. Alviar, Jr.,the IFED is a development project to be implemented by the Research Division led by RTD for R&D Dr. Jovita M. Datuin which aims to transform subsistence farmers and livestock raisers into agri-entrepreneurs through improved free range chicken and egg production, including vegetables as well as corn production.

With an end goal of producing safe and nutritious foods for all while increasing farmers and poultry raisers technological skills and knowledge in poultry raising, vegetable gardening and corn farming, the project is among DA’s and its partner local government units and institutional agencies are focusing on to supplement the various strategies and interventions being currently implemented to ensure sufficient food for the entire Luzon area while on community quarantine.

IFED Project Coordinator Ms. Cathy Pastor, in an interview with RAFIS, informed that the project will involve six municipalities and three cities in Region 1 under the improved chicken and egg production component while the vegetable production shall be done on station thru the research and experiment centers of the DA-RFO 1 located in Dingras and Batac in Ilocos Norte, Bacnotan in La Union; Sta. Barbara and Sual in Pangasinan.

These stations shall each have its own vegetable seed production project where the produced seeds shall be distributed for vegetable gardening projects in the region.

Of the P10 million fund for the project, bulk of this or a total of P7 million shall be used for the implementation of the IFED thru an improved poultry and egg raising project. The remaining P3 million fund will be used for the implementation of the IFED on vegetables (P2 million) and corn (P1 million) for young corn and green corn production.

The P7-million IFED through improved chicken and egg production project shall be implemented in nine project sites regionwide. Based on the project guidelines, DA-RFO 1 will be purchasing day-old chicks to be raised for a period of five months at the DA satellite stations. “Once the hardening or growing period is met or are ready to lay eggs, they shall be distributed to the farmer-recipients,” Ms. Pastor informed.

To provide the project recipients with the technical know-how in poultry raising, the R&D Group shall be conducting technical briefing cum seminar on poultry raising specifically focused on housing, feeding management, health management practices.