In line with Sec. William Dar’s New Thinking for agriculture on farm consolidation as spelled out in the 8 paradigm shift to boost the agriculture sector under his watch, the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos Region organized a Community Hybrid Rice Project (CHRP) in partnership with the Local Government Units of the four provinces in the region.

Aimed at establishing a 100 hectare contiguous area to be planted with hybrid rice seeds, the CHRP is the Ilocos Region’s flagship project that will provide organized farmers better access to DA’s programs and projects while promoting inclusive partnership between big and small farm holders.

Involving four Federated Farmers Associations in the region, the CHRP is likewise established to provide employment and increase the incomes of small holder farm families while encouraging them to engage in agribusiness enterprise such that farmers’ group may be able to optimize their incomes.

Clustered into four federated farmers’ group who are identified as collaborators of the project, among the identified farmers organizations are the Nangcalupaan Irrigators Association in Urdaneta City and Asingan, Pangasinan, the Sta. Maria, Sta. Fe, San Jose in Agoo of La Union, the BurParLuna Irrigators Association in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur and the Bacarra Zanjera Irrigators’ Association of Buyon, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

As the DA’s partner of the project, members of these farmers group shall be provided with the necessary inputs such as free hybrid seeds (farmer’s preference) and urea fertilizers to cover the 100 hectare contiguous target area for the project.

In Sta. Maria, Sta. Fe and San Jose in Agoo La Union, the IFED project or the Innovative Family Enterprise Development on goat and vegetable productions was added to the farm cluster activities to provide additional livelihood projects for the farmer members while waiting for the harvest season of their hybrid rice crops.

Aside from the inception of the IFED project, the farmers associations of Sta. Maria, Sta. Fe and San Jose shall be conducting a farm demonstration on the various farm machineries and equipment that involves crop production from planting to harvesting.

Mr. Rodolfo Estrada, Jr., ESETS Focal Person in the region said that the farm clustering in the region will expect to increase the average yield of rice farming in the region with the 1 ton incremental yield target per cluster that the project will provide.

With the DA’s full implementation of the clustering project next year, DA in Region I is now preparing viable farmers associations in the region by organizing more farmers association into federation to be able to maximize the full potential of farm clustering as a major strategy to leverage the agriculture sector not only in the Ilocos region but to the whole nation as well.