SSNM-NE for cassava forum highlights software’s use and benefit

As part of the Site-Specific Nutrient Management-Nutrient Expert (SSNM-NE) software for cassava launch held on 4 August 2023 in Quezon City, a forum was held to discuss issues and concerns as regards the technology and its use and benefits for cassava farmers.

Candido B. Damo, technical adviser for the DA-National Corn Program, led the forum along with SSNM consultants, Apolonio M. Ocampo and Mirasol F. Pampolino. Stakeholders from different regions actively engaged the experts by posing questions and sharing personal experiences.

Gerald Glenn F. Panganiban, DA-Bureau of Plant Industry director, initiated the forum by asking how implementers can effectively introduce these technological advancements to farmers, considering the challenges associated with farmers' reluctance to embrace new technologies.

Damo emphasized that there is an ongoing training of trainers for the SSNM-NE software involving local government units and selected farmer leaders. The individuals who receive this training will take on the role of sharing and teaching the new technology with farmers. 

Additionally, Pampolino mentioned that from her own experience, farmers exhibit genuine enthusiasm for this type of technology, particularly as they embark on the process of fertilizing cassava.

Wily Sevilla from the Tapioca Agricultural Organization posed a question for the experts regarding the low yield farmers get even if they fertilize cassava. 

"Maraming farmers ang nagtanim, nag-fertilize ng [cassava] granules, ang lalaki ng mga stalk pero pag binunot mo parang longganisa ang bunga, so they waited for 10 months only to harvest less than 5 tons" claimed Sevilla.

Damo pointed out that cassava largely needs potassium. Therefore, instead of relying solely on urea, farmers should consider incorporating muriate of potash.

“[K]asi ang nitrogen papalakihin niya ‘yung tanim, mapupunta sa dahon at stalk. Dapat dagdagan natin ng muriate of potash para maenhance yung root system o laman ng cassava natin,” Damo advised.

He also mentioned that this fertilizer recommendation can be also found within the SSNM-NE software.

Danie Bayani, a cassava farmer from the Cagayan Valley region, expressed his utmost appreciation for the project, which caused significant change to his cassava harvest.

From 5 tons na nahaharvest ko per hectare, umabot na ako ng 29 tons,” he shared.

Richard Torno, a cassava farmer hailing from the Central Luzon region, expressed his gratitude as cassava is now receiving the recognition it deserves.

“[H]indi lang puro rice, hindi lang puro corn promising po ang price ng cassava ngayon mapa industrial o food grade,” Torno remarked.

He also extended an invitation to all to come and visit his farm in Pampanga, where he is eager to impart his technical expertise about the technology. (### Alexis B. del Mar)