In a bid to fortify the skills and knowledge of local rubber farmers, the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) orchestrated a two-day Capacity Development Training held on October 12-13, 2023. The training took place in the localities of Sulo, Naga Zamboanga Sibugay, and Kalawit, Zamboanga Del Norte, bringing together 25 participants from the Sulo Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (SARBEMCO) and an additional 25 participants from Kalawit Rubber Farmers.

The inaugural day of the program saw a distinguished gathering, with government officials gracing the occasion to extend a warm welcome to the eager participants. The officials highlighted the significance of such training initiatives in fostering agricultural resilience and equipping local farmers with the latest insights and methodologies.

The heart of the training delved into various aspects crucial for the advancement of rubber farming, with a primary focus on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The participants were immersed in comprehensive sessions on sustainable farming techniques, ensuring optimal yield and quality in rubber cultivation. Disease and Pest Control and Management were also pivotal components of the training agenda. The participants were equipped with effective strategies to shield their rubber plantations from potential threats, minimizing economic losses and contributing to environmental sustainability. Given the escalating concern surrounding Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD), the training addressed this critical issue head-on. Participants received targeted guidance on identifying, preventing, and managing PLFD, fortifying their defenses against this formidable threat to the rubber industry.

The training’s hands-on approach in the field allowed farmers to have direct engagement fostered an interactive learning environment. Practical demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and knowledge-sharing moments enriched the overall learning experience, ensuring that farmers left with actionable insights to implement in their own rubber farms.

The collaborative spirit between the participants from Sulo Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative and Kalawit Rubber Farmers added a dynamic dimension to the training. Experiences were exchanged, fostering a sense of camaraderie and creating a network for ongoing support and collaboration.

As the training concluded on October 13, 2023, participants departed with not just enhanced skills but also a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm for their roles as guardians of the rubber industry. The ripple effect of this Capacity Development Training is anticipated to resonate across local communities, empowering rubber farmers to navigate challenges and embrace a future of sustainable and resilient agriculture.

-Julius Biolango