Report: Best Practices in Green Productivity in Agriculture Workshop, December 7-11, 2013, Iran

a Plaque from Fadak Olive Agro Industry Complex

a Plaque from Fadak Olive Agro Industry Complex

Green Productivity is a strategy for enhancing productivity and environmental performance for overall socioeconomic development. It involves the application of appropriate productivity and environmental management tools, techniques and technologies to reduce the environmental impact. The workshop deals more on how to improve production without negative effects to people as well as to environment towards achieving high profit.

The objectives of the workshops are the following:

a. To enhance participants’ understanding of the Green Productivity (GP) concepts, approaches, and technologies;
b. To share best practices in GP in agriculture; and
c. To formulate strategic action plans for raising awareness of the importance of GP in agriculture and publish case studies from the workshop in a booklet for wider dissemination.

Objectives for participation

Mario Lapitan
Project Evaluation Officer
Department of Agriculture
– Agricultural Training Institute Region IV-A

“The objectives of my participation is to impart the present undertakings of our country/organization in relation to GP. Not only the great technologies on organic agriculture program as well as the different modalities in implementing and extending this technologies to different stakeholders especially our farmers. Another is to gain knowledge on GP from other participating countries which I think are not being done in our country.

The workshop is very relevant because there are lots of technologies and innovations from other participants that are doable and possible that can help increase the production of our farmers. The increase in production will help our farmers to become self sufficient and increase their income. Since our government is promoting environment friendly technologies all topics being discussed can be adopted and promoted to different agricultural stakeholders in our country.

The expectations of this workshop were being achieved because I gained new skills and knowledge that I could use in promoting environment friendly innovations/technologies. There are some participants who presented report scientifically which I think they could present it in a simple and practical manner. There was also group exercises that produced great output to improve all the undertakings in the development and promotion of GP.”

Merlinda Calubaquib
Area Manager
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

“I was motivated to participate to the Project to gain knowledge on the experiences and best practices on green productivity in agriculture from other developing countries that we could adopt in the Philippines particularly in Nueva Vizcaya province, my work assignment. As advocate of Sustainable Development (SD) and Green Productivity (GP) practices, I believe that my participation would also be beneficial to other participants since I will be given the opportunity to also share our best practices and local experiences in green productivity.

The Project is very relevant and timely. I stated this because at present, PRRM Nueva Vizcaya is implementing a livelihood improvement project for poor farmers engaged in sustainable upland agriculture technologies such as organic farming, contour farming, compost making from agricultural waste, etc. We have achieved a certain level of success in promoting organic agriculture to farmers but in one hand, difficulties in redirecting the values and appreciation of other farmers on organic agriculture are still being encountered.

We hope to learn effective strategies and models from the Project to help us achieve higher level of success in promoting green agricultural production technologies in our locals. After my participation to this Project, I am confident that I would be able to learn significant approaches and strategies to further my knowledge and skills in implementing and managing projects related to green productivity in agriculture. More sharing sessions should also be integrated into the workshop modules. Resource persons should be well-versed on their assigned topics and must present their topics in simple and practical ways. There should be group exercises such as case studies and presentations by participants to enhance participatory learning process. More field visits are encouraged. Handouts and presentation materials should be provided to participants for ready reference materials.”

Profile of Participants

There were 21 participants from ROC Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Vietnam and Iran. From the Philippines , there are 3 participants namely Christian Eparwa Project Officer II of the Development Academy of the Philippines, Ms. Merlinda Ponce Calubaquib, Area Manager of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and Mr. Mario Alviar Lapitan , Project Evaluation Officer II and Planning Officer of the Agricultural training Institute.

Scope, Content, Methodology

Lectures

1. Green Productivity-an Introduction;
2. Green Productivity in Agriculture: Concepts, issues, challenges, and opportunities;
3. Appropriate agricultural technologies for efficient and sustainable use of resources- challenges and considerations;
4. Precision agriculture technologies for reducing environmental impacts of farming;
5. Best practices for enhancing agricultural water-use efficiency;
6. Farming systems for reducing impact of agriculture on environment;
7. Plant protection in farming systems with reducing impact of agriculture on environment;
8. A legal framework for better community-based natural resources (land and water Governance system: Lake Urmia Basin case study);
9. Biodiversity for promoting food security through greener agriculture;
10. Development of agriculture mechanization for smart farming;
11. Agricultural waste management for promoting GP in agriculture;
12. ICT application for efficient water management and waste water reuse;

Site Visits

The fourth day, December 10 was the most pleasurable part of the workshop as participants were given the opportunity to have field visit in 2 separate sites to observe outstanding models of operational technologies/systems of GP in agriculture, the Caviar Fish Farm and the Fadak Olive Oil Agro-Industrial Complex, both located at Qom Province, Iran approximately 200 km out of Tehran.

Caviar Fish Farm. The fish farm is amazing. The main source of water supply is a deep well that produces 35 liters per second with 23.5 degrees Centigrade. The farm capacity is estimated at 15 tons of caviar fish meat annually with 25 ponds, using aeration systems and water recycling. Time span for rising from a fry of 15 grams up to a fingerling or juvenile fish of 3 kg is estimated at a one complete year. A single piece of caviar fish can weigh up to 11 kg at a selling price of 8,000 US dollars per kg. Iranian government obtains foreign currencies via exporting caviar fish meat to International markets.

Fadak Olive Agro Industry Complex. This successful and profitable agro-industrial complex was a result of a systematic research. It adopted a firm disciple to establish a very close and intimate relationship with research and scientific institutes alongside with launching and administration of medium and long-term research projects. The outcome of these activities led to the foundation of an entirely mechanized and modern complex. Fadak olive agro-industry is in the belief that “research is today’s expenditure and tomorrow’s income” and has assigned this motto as the frontispiece of its activities. The introduction of canal fertilization system for the first time to the knowledge of orchard establishment was proven effective to the deserted land condition of this Iranian agroforestry complex. Besides research component, FOAIC initiates a nursery and tree propagation, orchards and fruit production, processing and supply and sale activities. Likewise, the complex has acquired success in the production of extra virgin olive oil on the basis of the world standards, I.O.O.C. and the European Union. This achievement is by itself a unique and unexampled. In May 2006, the complex was granted an international certificate of ISO 22000 which by itself is a privilege.

Country paper presentations

Philippines

Ms. Merlinda P. Calubaquib of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) presented a report on “Case Study on Promoting Participatory Forest Management in the Philippines. Her paper focus more on the PPFM approaches and strategies to achieve the goals of the organization. The strategies are the following:

a. Project coordination, progress monitoring and guidance to villagers.
b. Collaboration with LGUs and support for mobilization of resources by LGUs and extension.
c. Model farm establishment
d. CIS construction, construction of vermi composting
e. Establishment of maintenance system through development of water users groups for CIS, promotion of water user’s fee collection.
f. Development of farmer instructors (FIs) and AEWs
g. Sensitization of villagers and their capacity building through various training programs.
h. Conceptualization of effective marketing of their agricultural products.
i. Publicity and public awareness raising through various events , meetings and environmental education at schools and other places

Mr. Mario A. Lapitan presented the Role of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) on The National Organic Agriculture Program of the Philippines. The vision, mission and expected output were discussed and how this output are being achieved through the intervention of the ATI. Different extension modalities that are being implemented were discussed such as trainings, Farmer Field Schools, Establishment of Learning Sites, School for Practical Agriculture, School on the Air, Techno Gabay Program/FITS Program E-Extension, and Documentation of Success Stories.

India

The highlight of paper presented is more on Conservation Agriculture, This is being done or implemented through the farmers participatory approach In here there is a need of common understanding of all technologies related to CA and integrate all these in a way that farmers can do it in a practical manner in their own farming systems.

Indonesia

The highlight of the country report is the implementation of 4F Concept based on Integrated Farming System Model. He presented also that the Government of Indonesia issued Standards and procedures of Organic Food Production called the Indonesian National Standards, the Standards of Organic Farming Systems in Indonesia. The purpose of Standards are:

• Protecting Consumers from manipulation or fraud of plant materials/seed/breeding stock and organic food products in the market, and published by the National Certification Agency with the number SNI-01 6729-2002
• Harmonization in the regulation of production systems, certification, identification and labeling of organic food products;
• Providing organic food standards that are recognized nationally and also apply for export purposes; and
• Maintain and develop organic farming systems in Indonesia, thus contributing to the preservation of local and global ecology.

Vietnam

The highlights of her presentation was the discussion on the present situation of organic agriculture acceptance and adoption in their country. Even though at present the government has a strong desire to implement organic agriculture in their country the adoption or development are still slow due to limited resources and policies towards implementation of OA. Two cases were also presented to highlights some of the trends in organic agriculture in Vietnam especially on domestic markets. The results concluded that there is a need to boost or further develop the domestic market of organically produced commodities in Vietnam.

Thailand

The presenter discussed briefly the agricultural situations of their country. He further discussed the way how Green productivity is being promoted in their country. He also stressed that very recent the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has announce the policy to promote green productivity for sustainable development with programs such asGreen Agricultural City, Farming Zone and Smart Farming. Furthermore a Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office was established to promote the utilization of biodiversity resources for economics purposes and to encourage conservation of biodiversity and traditional knowledge to the community up to national level.

Sri Lanka

The lone participant presented the results of two studies conducted in their country in relation to the adoption of green productivity. The research is more on the effect of slow releasing nano fertilizer on rice growth. The results showed that the higher yield was achieved when rice plants were fertilized with nano fertilizers. Data on yield parameters such as plant height, number of tillers , panicle length obtained positive results.

Another research conducted showed that nano potassium fertilizer is a better source of potassium in rice production. The fertilizer enhances grain yield and give higher exchangeable K contents in the soil.

China

The reporter discussed a case study on fruit-vegetables waste composting. He wanted to emphasize the efficient and effective way of producing fruit – waste composting together with sawdust of mushroom waste.

Pakistan

Six popular GP practices were discussed by the presenter and these are the following:

• Balance Use of fertilizer by adopting Soil/Tissue Testing Lab Analysis
• Soil and Water Conservation
• Integrated Pest management
• Bio Gas Technology
• Fruit and Vegetables waste for Compost
• Organic Farming.

These practices are also being practiced in all countries participating in the workshop.

Malaysia

The presenter report focus on the Green Technology Policy which was designed to generate benefits in four areas: energy, environment, economy and social conditions. The policies to encourage the growth of green technology sector include: support for higher learning and research institution for R and D, increased foreign and domestic investment, establishment of a Green Technology Fund; feed in tariffs legislation to support renewable energy in power generation; and the recognition of green products through standards, ratings and labeling programmes.

Iran

One of the presenter focus his discussion on human resource development in line with the green productivity and sustainable agriculture in Iran. The human resource development in Agricultural section is carried out by extension and education services. Agriculture extension and education service is the basic working unit based on the conventional extension approach and sometimes based on commodity specialized approach. The main task of extension in Iran is the needs assessment of research and education, transfer of new technologies to farmers, improvement of farmer’s skills through providing specific training and using the experienced innovator farmers for development a technical knowledge in agriculture sector.

Outcomes and Evaluation

Lapitan: “Through this workshop I gained a concrete understanding of what Green Productivity in Agriculture is all about. With the topics presented during the plenary sessions and the country report presented by the participants helped me to see the over-all picture of Green productivity. The resource persons invited were all experts and very knowledgeable to every topics assigned to them. All the management staff of the workshop where all accommodating. The workshop employed all the workshop methodologies that helped the participants to really understand GP. So whatever learnings and knowledge gained from this workshop will be adopted and shared it to all the stakeholders of all agricultural activities in our country. All my objectives in attending this workshop were all met.”

Calubaquib: “I acquired full of knowledge on GP from the workshop project. My understanding on GP, its concepts, tools and techniques has improved significantly. My improper notion about GP was also corrected. Because of my participation to the workshop, I felt I had achieved a certain level of self-actualization and fulfilment in my career as a GP advocate. As regards to project objectives, I strongly believed that what the workshop achieved is more than the set objectives. My objectives for participation as well as my expectations were also fulfilled. All the resource persons were experienced and highly competent experts in their assigned topics. They did their best to impart their knowledge to us and prepared well their presentation materials in order. The workshop also employed various methodologies such as site visits, group exercises and sharing the participants’ country experiences on GP. Everybody enjoyed and benefited from the training. I salute all the organizers and the host country, they did an excellent job worth commendable.”

Recommendations and Action Steps

Lapitan: “The recommendation of all the participants was to conduct GP workshop yearly. For me this workshop should be conducted here in our country since we have more experts on GP and there are lot of techno demos and learning sites showing different practices on Green productivity. Moreover all the learnings and information that I gained will be imparted to my co workers during the regular meeting of both the national and regional centers. I will also share these technologies to all our clients during trainings and other extension activities of the center in the region.”

Calubaquib: “The general recommendation of the participants to APO is to regularize the execution of the workshop project annually or if possible initiate bi-annually. More number of participants should be invited per country. Also younger aged participants are likely recommended since they can extend longer years of service to their respective organizations as compared to those participants who are over 50 years of age. The Philippine APO, the DAP may also replicate the training by organizing the same in the country. There are a lot of GP experts locally who can be invited resource persons; the same is true with available and successful case models on GP that can be recommended as venues for site visits. The Philippine government should move forward in enacting better policies that are GP friendly, more funding support must be allocated to intensify the massive implementation of GP programs and projects. All government agencies as well as NGOs and the private sector must integrate in their programs and projects GP practices and techniques, thus massive orientation training must be done for the agencies to understand and appreciate GP.

To contribute to faster and wider dissemination of the knowledge gained from the workshop, I have to start it at home, with my family and friends as well as co-workers, and share those simple and practical GP practices that can be done at the household levels and at their respective workplaces. Reproduction of the CDs containing the GP presentation materials may be another strategy to facilitate dissemination.”

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