Not even the Covid-19 pandemic was able to stop farmers in Davao region to learn science-based information and technologies in goat farming that will help boost productivity and income among their rural communities.

This came after 438 farmers across the region graduated from the Department of Agriculture – XI’s (DA-XI) two-month long School-on-the-Air (SOA) on goat production held on August 3-7 from various cluster provinces and municipalities.

The SOA on goat production conducted by the DA-XI Information Section in partnership with Livestock program was aired over the DXRR 1017 Khz Mag-UMAsenso Ta radio program from June-July 2020, weekdays from 4:00-5:00AM.

In his message delivered during one of the SOA culmination activities, DA-XI Regional Executive Director Ricardo Oñate, Jr. said that the initiative is in line with the DA Secretary William Dar’s call to intensify support to farmers and increase food production in the country.

“One of the programs of DA under the Plant, Plant, Plant Program is farm diversification and livestock and poultry integration. This is timely as farmers should not only rely on one crop but to maximize their farm area and resources given the need to secure food supply in the region amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Oñate.

He emphasized that while we have enough supply for goat meat in the region, there is still a huge market potential as there is also an increased demand for chevon in Halal market.

Oñate also underscored the need for strategic communication to help farmers reduce the risk of doing agricultural business even with the modified face-to-face training and on-the-ground extension activities in compliance with the health and safety protocols.

“The radio serves as a vehicle for continued and improved delivery of agricultural information and extension services to our farmers in rural communities amid the pandemic. This therefore bridge the gap between the need for information sharing and social distancing,” Oñate said.

Adding that: “It is perceived to reach a critical mass of farmers and fishers that will be contributed to our goal of improving the country’s food adequacy level.”

The culmination activity was conducted in various cluster provinces to limit the number of participants and the holding of crowd such as in Tagum City cluster to cater also farmer-graduates coming from Panabo City, Sto. Tomas, B.E. Dujali and other nearby municipalities in Davao del Norte and the Municipality of Asuncion cluster to also cater farmers from Laak, Montevista cluster, Calinan cluster for Davao City farmers and Malita cluster for farmers coming from Davao Occidental.

DA-XI Info chief Noel Provido said that the next SOA which will be focusing on Cacao fermentation and bean grading will also start at the end of the month. (Celso C. Vergara, DA11)