“The workshop gave participants a clear idea on how to integrate soil health in the curriculum of Farmer Field School on Save and Grow”, said Ms Florecita Pante. She was one of the 36 participants (19 women) who participated in the Curriculum Development cum Refresher Training of Trainers on Soil Health and Legumes in Rice-based Farming Systems held in Cebu, Philippines from 4-9 December 2016. The FAO-HQ-AGP supported workshop was held within context of FAO’s Regional Rice Initiative, linking 2015 International Year of Soils to 2016 International Year of Pulses.
As part of the workshop, field visits were made to peanut and mungbean-growing areas in Danao City organized by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit VII in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Cebu. Following the field visits, the regional workshop was held to: (1) review existing training materials on sustainable soil management and legumes; (2) strengthen Farmer Field Schools on Save and Grow-Sustainable Intensification of Rice Production (FFS S&G-SIRP) curriculum by adopting/ adapting learning modules and exercises on soil health and fertility, plant nutrition and the use of legumes and green manure in rice-based farming systems; and (3) formulate action plans for pilot testing of soil health and legumes training modules within context of RRI-supported FFS interventions in both Philippines and Lao PDR.
The Curriculum Development cum Refresher Training of Trainers on Soil Health and Legumes in Rice-based Farming Systems will add value to and support the ongoing FFS S&G and particular its focus on the development of sustainable intensification of rice production. This includes capacity building for management of healthy soils and integration of legumes in agricultural production systems. A write-shop to design detailed field exercises for use in FFS S&G focusing on soil health is planned as a follow-up activity and pilot FFS will commence in the 1st quarter of 2017 in the Philippines (9 FFS S&G) and Laos (4 FFS S&G).