The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and the Philippine Sugar Research Institute (PHILSURIN) are set to collaborate on the crucial issue of low farm yields, SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said yesterday.
Serafica, in a press release, said he and former SRA Administrator Maria Regina Bautista-Martin, PHILSURIN executive director, met on November 7 and agreed to collaborate on the following matters:
*Regional benchmarking of best practices in sugarcane farming – the best practices and modern technologies at the various sugarcane regions will be surveyed and packaged as a training material in sugarcane farming. The output of the benchmarking project will be used in roadshows or incorporated in the training modules of OPSI and TESDA-accredited training centers.
*Capacity building to be led by SIMAG Foundation and Planters Associations with TESDA-accredited training centers will handle the trainings incorporating the best practices in sugarcane farming and SRA will provide the funds including the acquisition of necessary farm machineries and equipment that can be used in their sugarcane farming training modules.
*Upgrading of PHILSURIN Research Laboratory – SRA will fund the acquisition of various laboratory equipment of PHILSURIN for its breeding projects and extension services to the farmers in proximate sugarcane mill districts.
They have noted that SRA and the industry players have the resources and expertise that can be bundled into one to make the industry competitive in year 2020 and beyond, Serafica said.
Low farm productivity can be addressed through the joint efforts of industry players and sugar end users, specifically the beverage manufacturers which are large consumers of sugar, he added.
PHILSURIN has the technical expertise in varietal improvement and both SRA and PHILSURIN have the high-yielding sugarcane varieties which can be propagated and distributed to the sugarcane seed farms of PHILSURIN and the MDDCs of the various sugarcane mill districts, he said.
The SIMAG Foundation and Planters Associations can provide the technologies and farm management expertise as service providers in managing the financial resources and farm operations of the less productive sugarcane farms and the block farms, Serafica said.
Farm financing is a crucial aspect which can be derived from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund of the beverage industry or the sugar mills that SIMAG Foundation and other Planters Association can manage profitably, he added.
This is one way of developing the sugarcane agribusiness sector in the country where the small farmers and block farms will be taught by SIMAG or the Planters Associations how to manage the farms as an enterprise, Serafica said.*
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