Aiming to improve knowledge on onion cultivation in line with its advocacy to develop the capacities of Filipino farmers, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), with co-financing from East-West Seed Company (EWSC) and KFW DEG, launched a project entitled: Capacity Building on Integrated Pest Management for Onion Farmers in the Philippines (ONION UNION).
ONION UNION is an ongoing initiative to provide sustainable solutions to the major challenges the Philippine vegetable industry faces, focusing mainly on the professionalization of agriculture, and adaptation to changing environmental conditions caused by climate change, new pests, and crop diseases.
Onion production in the country remains to be one of the top five vegetable productions that generate major source of income among Filipino farmers, especially in the provinces of Luzon. This project highlights effective cultivation management and practices, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies to improve the productivity rate among smallholder farmers in the key onion-producing provinces of Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Sur, and Mindoro.
Moreover, this project aims to reach 600 farmers (150 farmers per province) and 40 agronomists/agriculturists (10 per province) to be upskilled as trainers and multipliers on IPM solutions within a 22-month period from 2018 to 2020.
Victorino David, one of the beneficiaries of the project, said that farming is his primary source of income and natural calamities have always been one of his biggest problems, “I am really happy with this project held in our area because this does not only benefit me but the whole farming community. Also, the discussions are really good about farming and crop marketing, so I hope many could join us in the next sessions,” David said when asked about his experience with the project.
Earlier this year, four onion learning centers have been successfully launched in the following areas: San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Bayambang, Pangasinan; Laur, Nueva Ecija; and Bantay, Ilocos Sur. These onion learning centers will serve as venues to educate and train the farmers regarding effective onion farming and management. For the month of March, ONION UNION will hold a thanksgiving celebration for the fruitful harvest of the farmers who have been part of the said project.