The early travel restriction had been implemented in the province of Batanes during the heights of Covid19.

Today, the province is still Covid19 free.

In many other areas in the country, agriculture has been a hard hit. Still, in Batanes, farmers, and fishers through the supervision and help of the provincial and local government units and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 2 Batanes Experiment Station (DA RFO 2-BES), is thriving.

According to Dr. Freddie B. Corsino, Chief, BES, although the pandemic affected the sector, the implementation of programs and services is unhampered.

The province is known as a producer of organic garlic and sweet potato. The garlic production led to market linkage through the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) in partnership with Mayani Philippines. It is now undergoing shipping.

“Batanes also shipped out planting materials to the local government units accounting for 15 MT. This is aside from the 7 MT for Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita shipped during the second quarter,” the manager said.

As an Organic Agriculture province, the practitioners in the six (6) island municipalities account for some 125 farmers with a tilling area of 68,680 ha.

Meanwhile, the onslaught of Fall Army Worm (FAW) and prolonged drought in the province has caused the unmet target of the production of glutinous corn seeds. However, the replanting of corn in Chanarian, Mahatao, was executed.

Corsino also reported that under the corn seed distribution, 91 % of the annual target of 453 kg were already distributed to 59 beneficiaries.

“The station had distributed 635 kg or 79 % of the annual target with 20 farmer-beneficiaries for the rice program. On regular rice seeds, 400 kilograms or 80 % of the yearly target was already accomplished with 29 beneficiaries,” he added.

The station supports pasture development and maintenance by providing forage planting materials to all island municipalities and the development, rehabilitation, and upgrading of government stock farms.

On August 20, 2020, the livestock program delivered and planted 10,000 planting materials in Vuhus Island to an association of cattle farmers to benefit native cattle in the area.

The station also met all Municipal Mayors and Agriculturists in preparation for three (3) research projects funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

As of August 31, four (4) farm-to-market roads (FMRs) had been completed while one is under construction. The province’s completed road networks are Vakahas-Dibtangan FMR, Pakarayan-Tanud-Vuchid FMR, Diptan-Sumaked FMR, and Narawtan-Pinvatavatasan FMR. The lone road which is underway is Tuva-Rudaw FMR.

For the Plant, Plant, Plant Program, or Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra Covid19, BES distributed 1,896 seeds for 800 households and 2,120 seedlings for 53 families.

“The implementation of all the DA programs in Batanes adhered to the strictest protocols and guidelines set by the Health Department,” Corsino ended.

(For more information please contact Dr. Fredie Corsino or their Facebook account DA BES.)