DA-Eastern Visayas, DA-BAR to implement Yamang-Lupa: SCALE UP in Javier and Abuyog, Leyte

DA-Eastern Visayas, in collaboration with DA-BAR, Provincial Local Government of Leyte, Municipal Local Government of Javier and Abuyog launched the Yamang Lupa: Sustainable Community-based Action R4DE for Livelihood Enhancement, Upliftment, and Prosperity (YL: SCALE UP) in the identified twelve barangays of the two target municipalities. The launching was held on 15 July 2022 at the Northeastern Leyte Agri Pinoy Trading Center (NELAPTC) in Javier, Leyte. 

DA-Eastern Visayas regional executive director Angel C. Enriquez and DA-BAR director Dr. Junel B. Soriano, together with the project leader and regional technical director for Research and Regulations Dr. Elvira Torres, and the YL: SCALE UP national program director Dr. Virgilio Julius P. Manzano Jr., spearheaded the momentous event.  

The activity gathered roughly 500 participants, including farmers from the 12 barangays in Javier and Abuyog (six from each municipality), and the identified 24 lead farmers, who will work with the farmers in the implementation of the program. 

For Javier, the program will focus in barangays Casulungan, San Sotero, Caranhug, Guindaponan, Magsaysay, and Ulhay. While, the target sites for Abuyog are in barangays Canmarating, Paguite, Katipunan, Balocawehay, Pagsang-an, and Odiongan. 

In the program launching, director Soriano challenged the farmers to learn all the technologies and apply everything in their farms in order to improve their yield and increase their income. 

Ang ibibigay natin sa inyo ay teknolohiya, yun ang itong susundan para tumaas ang inyong ani, importante po dito tumaas ang inyong ani, yun ang ating goal, ang ating misyon sa programang ito,” Dr. Soriano stressed.

Director Enriquez emphasized that unity and cooperation would ultimately result to the success of any government program. At the same time, she urged all the farmers to actively participate and learn the scientific methods to correct and complement the nutrients required by the soil. She also challenged the LGUs to come up with their own plans to sustain this program even after the three-year implementation. 

RTD Torres shared how beneficial and advantageous the implementation of YL: SCALE UP in Leyte, citing the huge success of the YL Phase 1 in Samar. 

“Only four regions in the country are chosen for this program, and we are very thankful that Eastern Visayas is one of the recipients of this program,” Dr. Torres said. 

“The Yamang Lupa in Samar was really a success because we were able to boost their production yield and income,” she added.   

Dr. Leonarda Londina, research division chief gave the overview of the YL: SCALE UP, such as the rationale of the program, the activities to be conducted, and the major outputs of the program. 

Present also in the activity were William O. Florante, Carla Bustillo, and Rustico Advincula, who were the Local Farmer Technicians in the YL Phase 1. After their series of capacity development trainings, the team’s expertise was recognized by the LGU. 

Florante, serving as chairperson of the Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council of Sta. Rita, Samar discussed that the results in implementing YL Phase 1 showed that rice yield was even better than the projected 20% yield increase, and their farmers have been able to sustain the production of corn and other crops. 

These encouraging results from the YL Phase 1 implementation have made the participants in the forum eager for this program to finally begin. 

Other highlights of the activity were the project unveiling and commitment of support signing by the key players of the YL: SCALE UP Program implementation. 

The YL: SCALE UP is the outscaled program of the Yamang Lupa, which was first implemented in the Pinabacdao, Basey, and Sta. Rita, Samar in 2015-2018. 

The Yamang Lupa program is a science-led development and holistic mission mode program that uses the principles and approaches of the Bhoochetana (soil rejuvenation) program originated from India to improve rural livelihoods of smallholder and marginal farmers in the Philippines by increasing productivity through the use of best-bet soil, water, crop, and nutrient management options. It has become one of the foundations of agricultural development aimed at sharing appropriate and accurate technology with the farmers, which primarily focuses on proper farm management and utilization of soil nutrients to increase crop yield and productivity. 

The program aims to: 1) reduce production cost by 10-20%; 2) increase yield and income by at least 15%; 3) increase cropping intensity by 30%; 4) improve soil fertility by 10%; 5) increase of farmers' adaptive capacities on farming technologies, strategies, and approaches by 60%; 6) operationalize agricultural livelihood and marketing systems by 20%; and 7) improve entrepreneurial skills of farmers, youth, and women groups. 

The initial activities of the program will involve soil testing in order to assess the fertility and nutrient deficiencies of the soil.From there, DA-Eastern Visayas together with the Visayas State University and the lead farmers will assist the LGUs toward making these soils healthy and productive, utilizing the various soil rejuvenation techniques. (### Ma. Christina E. Colasito and Kevin G. Biol)