DA honors organic implementers

The exemplary catalysts for the organic agriculture sector have been honored by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its search for the National Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Awards (NOAAA).

 

The awarding was led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol before a crowd of nearly 2,000 organic farmer-practitioners, agricultural extension workers, exhibitors, enthusiasts and other industry stakeholders across the country during the 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC), held in Cagayan de Oro city.

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“Let’s work on feeding the Filipino people first…and, you organic farmers kayo ang may malaking papel dito,” underscored Sec. Piñol. He noted that while the agricultural sector is broadening its reach to the international markets, serving the country comes as top priority.

 

The NOAAA winners were named by category, such as the outstanding provincial and municipal local government units, OA focal persons, agricultural extension worker, small individual farmer, farmer’s group and organic farming family.

 

They were awarded based on their exemplary contributions to the implementation of Republic Act 10068 known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 and achievement of the envisioned goals of the NOA Program of DA that more Filipinos will engage in Organic Agriculture.

 

The winners at the provincial category are the Provincial Local Government Unit of Ifugao (PLGU-Ifugao) and focal person Catherine V. Buenaventura.

 

The Municipal Local Government Unit of Itogon, Benguet (MLGU-Itogon) won in the municipal category. While Dexter Mendoza, city OA focal person of Ligao, Albay and Rowena Gonnay, agricultural extension worker of Pasil, Kalinga are named winners in their respective capacity.

 

On the other hand, Elmer Salzar of Tigaon, Camarines Sur triumphed as the outstanding small farmer individual. La Top Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) of La Trinidad, Benguet, and the Marsan Family of La Trinidad, Benguet garnered the outstanding farmer’s group and organic farming family awards, respectively.

 

For earning the individual awards, Buenaventura, Mendoza, Gonnay and Salzar received each a plaque of recognition and P50,000, P40,000, Php30,000 and P20,000 cash prizes, respectively.

 

The group winners such as the PLGU-Ifugao, MLGU-Itogon and La Top MPC were granted each a plaque of recognition and an OA project (proposal-based) amounting to P3 million, Php1 million and P500,000, respectively.

 

For the Marsan Family, it received a cash prize of P300,000 and a plaque of recognition.

 

Moreover, the DA chief looks forward to giving more incentives on top of giving citations and awards to the national organic achievers. He encouraged the Congress delegates to join him in this aspiration.

 

“Let’s focus our advocacy on organic agriculture, tingnan natin kung ano pang incentives ang ating maibibigay for every farmer who embraces the organic farming system,” he urged.

 

Despite the different technologies espoused by DA, according to Piñol, it is always the market which dictates the kind of farming systems that we should embrace, and he pointed the bright potential of OA.

 

“The world is moving towards healthier food, organic food, and you are lucky because early on, andiyan na kayo, kayo ang unang makikinabang as the world goes craving for healthier and safer food for themselves and their families,” said Piñol.

 

“I assure you all of the full commitment of the DA to OA,” Piñol concluded.

 

The occasion was also graced by lawyer Rhaegee Tamanya representing Cynthia A. Villar, senate committee chair on agriculture and food; DA Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing and Regional Engagement Bernadette Romulo-Puyat; Engr. Christopher V. Morales, coordinator, NOA Program; heads of DA attached bureaus and agencies; regional directors of various regional field offices; organic focal persons and representatives.

 

Hosting the 14th NOAC is DA-Regional Field Office 10 headed by OIC-Regional Director Carlene C. Collado, along with assistant regional directors Engr. Roxana H. Hojas,  and Carmelita T. Bajarla, and OA Focal Person Samuel C. Natindim, Jr. in partnership with the City LGU of Cagayan de Oro, Xavier University – College of Agriculture and the PLGU of Misamis Oriental. (DA10)

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SP OKs MOA with DA for livestock program

Department of Agriculture (DA) and the city government of Cagayan de Oro forged another partnership for livestock program.

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To increase the competitiveness and income of livestock farmers, Cagayan de Oro City legislators headed by Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin V. Uy during its regular session Wednesday presided over by Councilor Zaldy approved an ordinance authorizing Mayor Oscar Moreno to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Agriculture (DA) covering its Livestock Program.

 

The DA is implementing the program to enhance agricultural productivity and production as a strategy of realizing the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Plan (AFMP) and is willing to provide one unit Hammer Mill under the Animal Feeds Technology Project.

 

The MOA provides that the regional field office of DA in northern Mindanao shall  procure the brand new equipment, turn over the unit to the city and conduct periodic monitoring and evaluation to ascertain the progress of the project

 

For its part, the city government shall use the equipment for the Animal Feeds Technology Development with DA-RFO-10 and provide a garage to properly secure the unit, among others.

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The ordinance was endorsed by the committees on agriculture and fisheries and on laws and rules chaired by Councilors Annie Y. Daba and Ian Mark Nacaya, respectively. (SP)

New joint circular assures safety of GM crops in PH

In a public briefing and Biotechnology 101 to stakeholders in Northern Mindanao, Merle Palacpac, chief agriculturist, Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Regulations of Department of Agriculture shares that the Joint Department Circular (JDC) No. 1 series of 2016 of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) assures government’s responsibility on biosafety in the country.

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The JDC otherwise known as the Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment and Management of Genetically-Modified (GM) Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology was in full effect since 15 April 2016.

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Dr. Saturnina Halos, chair of Biotechnology Advisory Team of DA explained that there are many concerns of biotech crops such as its impact on biodiversity due to invasiveness, impact on wild relatives and impact on non-target organisms. She said that this is why there is regulation which requires studies and measures to preclude adverse impact of biotech crop to wild relatives and testing of the insecticide produced by the plant on non-target organisms.

 

She added that food safety issues are also assessed by regulatory system using the Codex alimentarius guidelines, a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.

 

Halos revealed that in terms of regulation, GM crops is regulated in many aspects including to ensure food and environmental safety; social, ethical and economic issues considered.

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Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are products developed through genetic engineering. Scientists have developed different crops with enhanced characteristics. Aside from plants that have built-in insect repellent, some plants have been developed to resist weed killer applications, fight diseases, withstand intense heat from the sun, produce nutritious oils, delay ripening. Further, biotech crops undergo a long process of testing and evaluation before they become available in the market.

 

Among the GM crops planted all over the world include soybean, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beet, squash, potato, eggplant and papaya among others.

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In the Philippines, biotech (BT) yellow corn is the only one yet available in the market. This is used as animal feed and use as food and processing. Biotech Maize has been planted in the Philippines since 2003 of about 6.03 million hectares according to International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

 

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In terms of global perspective, Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, University Researcher of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) shares that the global population is increasing. There is hidden hunger due to malnutrition, nutritional deficiency, vitamin A deficiency and as a result, 500,000 children go blind.

 

She said that many are still afraid of GMOs because they think this is poison, has harmful effects to human, animals and environment, contamination and cause of cancer and other abnormalities.

 

But why do we develop biotech crops? BT crops have no sources of trait of interest (e.g. insect resistance trait) in commercial varieties or germplasm; there is significant crop losses due to pests or diseases; there is excessive pesticide applications hazardous to health and environment; there is high incidence of nutritional deficiency (malnutrition).

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BT crops produce higher crop yields, reduced farms costs, increased farm profit, improved health and cleaner and safer environment and improved soil quality. Further, Gm crops can contribute in production of ingredients, vitamins, starter cultures and enzymes for food processing meanwhile fruits and vegetables can be improved in appearance, taste, nutrient content, storage life, resistance to certain pests and even stability under favorable climatic conditions. (JMOR/PIA10)

BizCon highlights Mindanao role as Phl food basket

“I have always been a firm believer of Mindanao’s great potential,” remarked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his message, as he keynoted the closing rites of the three-day 26th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon), on 9 September 2017, in Cagayan de Oro City.

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Given the right infrastructure and a sound business environment, the President added, that the island-region will be a heavy partaker in propelling the growth and development of the country, thus, aggressively pursuing infrastructure projects in Mindanao.

 

“We have allocated funds to build structures to facilitate the transfer of goods and services, as well as enhance mobility and connectivity,” he said.

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Citing key projects, Duterte revealed, that the Mindanao Railway System, the Panguil Bay Bridge and the Laguindingan Airport are in various stages of implementation.

 

To ensure that Mindanao can fulfill its role of being the food basket of the Philippines, he said, that the government lends a hand to agriculture.

 

“It is actively providing assistance in the production of high valued crops and the development of agri-products and marketing of its goods, among others,” the president noted.

 

Duterte also brought attention to the availability of the color-coded agri-fishery maps that will help farmers identify the most suitable crops for their farms, saying that this will be continuously improved with new data and tools to provide more information to farmers.

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Meanwhile, the president’s statements were early on supported by the presentation of Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, in one of the breakout sessions lined-up during the conference, where she tackled the Role of the Agribusiness Industry in Mindanao in the ASEAN and Emerging Markets.

 

“According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mindanao supplies over 40% of the country’s food requirements and that it contributes about 30% of the national food security,” the undersecretary reported.

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The DA official also said that there are already existing and potential markets for Mindanao, particularly for cacao beans, pomelo, durian, organic rice, coconut and its by-products while target for export includes cacao, muscovado, sugar, turmeric and mangosteen.

 

Puyat also highlighted Mindanao’s logistics as a potent tool in the attainment of the abovesaid, comprising the international shipment port in Davao and its proximity to export markets such as the ASEAN market and other countries, namely: China, Korea and Japan.

 

Further, the undersecretary has stressed that the DA has also undertaken opportunities for enriching the agribiz sector through extending production support and product development, and marketing initiatives, under the tutelage of DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.

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With the mentioned systems in place, President Duterte, nonetheless emphasized, that it will entail more to promote business, trade and investment in Mindanao.

 

“Our efforts will be in vain if we cannot ensure stability and order, as well as secure just and lasting peace in the island, hence the government is intensifying the fight against illegal drugs, crime and corruption, as it creates a more enabling and nurturing environment in the island-region.

 

With your cooperation and our people’s support, I am confident that we will create a more prosperous and progressive Mindanao,” the president concluded.

 

With the theme “Emerging Opportunities, One Mindanao”, the three-day affair was undertaken through the synergistic efforts of the CDO Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Mindanao Development Authority, the city and provincial local government units of CDO and Misamis Oriental, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, among other groups.

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With focus on the agribiz industry, the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) under the leadership of OIC-Regional Director Carlene C. Collado, served as one of the co-convenors. Heading the delegation on behalf of the regional director is Director III and Regional Technical Director Carmelita T. Bajarla, and Chedy V. Ansale, agribusiness and marketing assistance division chief. (JLOlson, DA-RFO 10)

NCCA, XCCA present ’10th Yamug: Mindanao Historical Injustice’ lecture series

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, through its Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts (XCCA), will hold “Yamug 10 – Mindanao Historical Injustice” lecture series on October 7 (8AM to 5PM) at the XU Little Theater.

 

Yamug is a flagship project under the cultural education program of XCCA and this is in celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month.

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This year’s Yamug focuses on the Mindanao historical injustices experienced by our Lumad and Muslim brothers and sisters.

 

The speakers are North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Nancy A Catamco (Obo Manobo), Talaandig Datu Victorino Saway, Dr. Rohane Derugongan (Maranao), and peace educator Saturnina “Bebot” Rodil.

 

This lecture series will allow us to understand more of Mindanao’s history through the lenses of the struggles and triumphs of the indigenous peoples.

This event is open to the public for free. Certificates of participation will be given to the attendees after the program. (XU Comm)

PRDP provides ‘Peace Road’ project in Gingoog City

The implementation of almost P65-million farm-to-market road (FMR) of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in Gingoog City is one fulfillment of the city government’s Peace Road Program.

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The 5.56-kilometer (km) San Miguel-Kalagonoy FMR is funded under PRDP’s Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD) component.

 

During the groundbreaking ceremony on August 10, 2017, Gingoog City Mayor Stella Marie L. Guingona said she formulated the Peace Road Program when she assumed City Mayor, after the tragic and painful incident that happened in the area where her mother, the former Mayor Ruthie L. Guingona was ambushed by the so-called discontented groups who thought the government has done nothing for them.

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“When I sit down as mayor of Gingoog City I formulated the Peace Road Program which is also the long-dream of the people in the rural barangays of Gingoog City,…and now this is happening, we are inaugurating the groundbreaking of five concrete FMRs” mayor Guingona said.

 

Along, with the FMR of PRDP, LGU Gingoog also implements two other road projects from DA worth P10.6M each, and two from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with a total cost of more than P60M.

 

Amidst obstacles in achieving their dreamed roads, the incessant Guingona promised to continue until all the roads in the City of Gingoog are concreted. “As long as we dream, and collectively strive to achieve it, nothing can stop us until we reach the time that all roads in Gingoog City will be concrete.”

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For his part, DA-RFO 10 OIC-Regional Director Carlene C. Collado urged the contractor to speed up implementation of the FMR considering the fund is already there and the 15% mobilization fund is now available at the Program Support Office, Davao City waiting for pick-up by the contractor.

 

“Having the money, we request the contractor to speed up implementation of the project, and I also ask the support from the LGU Gingoog and the barangay people to closely monitor the implementation process as we don’t allow this to be terminated if not properly implemented,” Collado emphasized.

 

He reminded them the policy in I-BUILD Operations Manual that more than 15% negative slippage is candidate for termination and if this happens, the total amount released from PRDP shall be fully refunded by the LGU.

 

Dir. Collado also implied that Gingoog City should perform well, considering they got almost 25% out of the P738M current I-BUILD portfolio for Misamis Oriental.

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As to the two FMRs in barangay Binakalan to San Miguel worth P10.6 million each from the DA’s regular fund, Collado said the 50% was already downloaded to the LGU Gingoog last year. He added that succeeding releases for these projects is 40%, 10%.

 

“Aside from FMRs, the DA has more programs to implement such as rice, corn, high value crops, livestock, and organic program which you can avail to increase your productivity and income,” Collado said.

 

Meanwhile, mayor Guingona said that along with the construction of FMRs, they are also giving farm inputs to the farmers to boost their production and harvest.

 

Guingona thanked the DA, DPWH, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) for helping them in bringing the government more closer to the people in Gingoog City. (DA10)

Northern Mindanao corn output recovers in 2Q, palay production up by 36%

Corn production in Northern Mindanao has recovered from the ill-effects of El Niño phenomenon during the second quarter of 2017, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in the region reported.

 

Corn output during the quarter was recorded at 66,163 metric tons (MT), up by 211.79 percent from the 21,220 MT production in the second quarter of 2016.

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Engr. Cecilio Y. Clarete, chief economic development specialist of NEDA-X, said the growth was mainly due to sufficient rainfall, more usage of fertilizer, and availability of hybrid and modern open pollinated variety (OPV) seeds.

 

Bukidnon was the biggest corn producer contributing 44,791 MT or 67 percent of the total regional corn production followed by Lanao del Norte sharing 21 percent or 14,150 MT.

 

The value of white corn production for the quarter stood at P227.8 million, up by 34 percent, year-on-year. Despite the 14 percent reduction in the average farm gate, the 55 percent increase in volume was more than enough to raise the value of white corn production The value of yellow corn production, on the other hand, grew by 332 percent to P440.1 million due to the 477 percent growth in production volume.

 

White corn production during the quarter was recorded at 20,745 MT while yellow corn at 45,418 MT.

 

Meanwhile, the volume of palay produced during the same quarter reached 136,331 MT, higher by 36.8 percent from the 99,644 MT recorded in the same quarter last year.

 

All the provinces in the region, except for Camiguin, posted increases in production.

 

Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte were still the top producers contributing 69,546 MT (51%) and 41,893 MT (31%), respectively.

 

Clarete said the increase in Bukidnon’s production was attributable to sufficient irrigation water and rainfall, complemented by the government’s hybrid seeds subsidy.

 

For Lanao del Norte, the growth was mainly due to more plantings in rainfed and upland areas. Seed assistance and usage of fertilizer through the “plant now, pay later” scheme availed by farmers in Lala also contributed to the province’s production growth. (APB/PIA-10)