PH Mango growers seek to increase productivity as demand grows

The Mango Industry in the country represented by its president Virginia dela Fuente of Philippine Mango Industry Foundation Inc. (PMIF) explained during a press conference in the 19th Mango Congress in Cagayan de Oro City that mango growers need to prune and fertilize to boost their productivity in the next years as demand is still very high.

During the Mango Congress from 27-29 November 2017, growers from all over the country tackled issues such as low productivity and the need to use new technologies to increase shelf life of mango especially for export.

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Other countries such as Vietnam have adopted a technology of producing frozen food through OctoFrost, dela Fuente said.

She shared that there was a serious drop of mango output for the whole country in 2016. Two main reasons include mango growers have not done pruning and fertilization for several years.

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Meanwhile, Hazel Pontilan, president of Cagayan Misamis Oriental Bukidnon Mango Growers Association (CMBMANGA) shared that there is also less productivity due to climate change. She explained that mangoes are tropical fruit and they grow under the heat of the sun, however, as typhoons have come in Northern Mindanao, this affected output of their mangoes.

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Although, in terms of help from the government, she said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) region 10 has helped them a lot in terms of training and provision of seedlings.

On the other hand, dela Fuente mentioned that since mango has high perishability, their group has established fruit production insurance program. Among the projects they are also looking forward to is the establishment of demo farm for those who want to get into the mango business, they can have two weeks’ seminar and training.

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The Mango Industry is a big industry in the country. Dela Fuente said that in 2007 alone, the country has produced one million metric tons equivalent to P50 billion worth in sales. Although in 2016, only 400,000 metric tons were produced. In five years’ time, they aim to produce three million metric tons or three billion kilos worth of mangoes.

Meanwhile, 70% of the sales come from dried mangoes. In the entire country, Luzon produces 2/3 of the mangoes while Visayas and Mindanao produce 1/3. (JMOR/PIA10)

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DA to honor region 10 agri-extensionists as Nat’l Quality Corn Achievers

For their laudable contributions in increasing farmers’ adoption on good agricultural practices to produce good quantity and quality of corn, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to honor three outstanding agricultural extensionists from Northern Mindanao.

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Now on its 5th year, DA annually conducts its search for the National Quality Corn Achievers (NQCA) to recognize the efforts made by the local government units (LGUs) to strengthen food security in the country, particularly in corn.

Chosen as national winners from Region 10 are agricultural extension workers (AEWs) Kristina P. Soria, Bernido P. Miasco and Neptali C. Ambos, all from the municipality of Lantapan, Bukidnon.

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As achievers, they have been selected for actively bridging the implementation of corn-related programs, projects and interventions at the grassroots level in close collaboration with DA’s Corn Program.

For this year, the trio is just among the nation’s 100 commendable AEWs throughout the country while the other QCAs include five corn producing provinces, five provincial agriculturists, five provincial corn coordinators, 25 corn-producing municipalities/cities, 25 municipal/city agriculturists and 25 municipal/city corn coordinators.

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The awardees will be receiving their incentives in the form of cash prizes amounting to P20,000 and a plaque of recognition each. This will be given during the 13thPhilippine National Corn Congress (PNCC) on November 22-24, 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City, Metro Manila.

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With the theme: “Reshaping Corn as Staple; for Health and Wellness”, the PNCC will underscore the paramount importance of corn as a staple food crop to easen the country’s reliance on rice through the staging of discussions on policy advocacy, technology presentations and machinery displays.

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In addition, it will also highlight the promotion of rice corn blend, as a taste survey will likewise be done to determine the acceptability of rice-corn blend as part of the mainstream Filipino diet.

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Along with the honorees, Region 10’s delegation will include DA-10 headed by its OIC-Regional Director Carlene C. Collado, corn and cassava farmers’ organizations and clusters.

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Simultaneous in the conduct of the NQCA, the 1st Cornucopia Awards, a search which aims to recognize laudable farmer organizations implementing value-adding on corn and cassava, and the 1st Cassava Cluster Management Excellence Awards, which targets to honor cassava cluster organizations who have outstandingly performed in the implementation of cassava-related projects and interventions by DA Corn/Cassava Program, will also be held. (DA-10)

Organic products showcased in CDO trade fair

 CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, November 21 – To broaden the market reach of organic products grown and produced in Northern Mindanao, a Regional Organic Trade Fair (ROTF) was staged on 17-19 November 2017 at the SM City Mall, Pueblo de Oro, Upper Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.

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A total of 28 exhibitors participated, coming from the city, municipal and provincial local government units (LGUs) and the private sector, who showcased their certified organic and naturally-grown products and other value-adding and product innovations locally produced in region 10.

This activity was also in line with Proclamation No. 1030, s. 2015, declaring the month of November of every year as the ‘Organic Agriculture (OA) Month’.

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“Annually, we conduct this trade fair to focus our attention on the importance of Organic Agriculture as a viable farming system for development, environmental conservation, and health protection of farmers, consumers, and the public,” Carlene C. Collado, officer-in-charge regional director of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) said.

He added that it serves as a mechanism for agricultural producers and processors to change their mindset on farming as merely subsistence to a sustainable business enterprise.

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“Once they will reap the fair returns for their products, the only option that they have is to drive themselves towards producing and growing in order to meet the demands of the market,” Collado explained.

The local government unit (LGU) exhibitors comprise the provincial LGUs of Misamis Oriental, who promoted and sold turmeric powder and duck eggs; Lanao del Norte – assorted varieties of rice; Bukidnon – vegetables and rice; and Misamis Occidental – kakanin and bottled processed fishery products; and the city LGU of Cagayan de Oro – fresh vegetables and fishery products.

Adding to the roster of LGU exhibitors are the barangay and municipal food terminals of Highland Fresh – flavored milk and vegetables and LGU Salay – fruits and vegetables, respectively. Further, the Organic Trading Post of Kauswagan – fruits and vegetables also displayed.

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Meanwhile, the private sector also featured their respective agri-fishery products, namely: Quadro Onse – cranberry juice and planting materials; Engallado’s Nature Farm and Natural Food Products – assorted processed rice by-products; Agay-Ayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative – coconut sugar; Miel de Oro – honey and dragon fruit; Limonero Fruit Drinks – lemon juice; Gats Garden – fruit juice and cheese; NAS AgriCom – turmeric, salabat and ginger; VOPPTA – black rice; Queensland Farm – fruits and herbs; Kape Napalit – ground coffee; and GreenMinds Inc. – peanuts.

Completing the list of exhibitors are Venida Farm – herbs and dragon fruit; Buhian Diversified Farm – virgin coconut oil, coco sugar, fruit tree seedlings and duck eggs; Binahon Agro Farm – fruit tree seedlings and processed vegetables; Kape Maramag – ground coffee; NM Foods – banana chips; Firestar Dream Concoctions – condiments and honey; Gran Molucas – bottled palapa and processed meat; Alomah’s Garden – herbs and vegetables and Marvelous Organic Resources – farm inputs and sweet corn.

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“With the participation of our different exhibitors, the visiting public will not only have the opportunity to patronize the organic products of the region, but they will also serve as our advocates for the further promotion and development of OA,” the regional director further remarked.

Now on its fourth year, the ROTF is spearheaded by the DA-RFO 10 through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division and Organic Agriculture Program. (DA-10)

Road show highlights food safety

Carrying the theme: “Pagkaing Ligtas at Sapat, Tungkulin at Karapatan ng Lahat,” a Food Safety Road Show was staged on 9 November 2017 in Cagayan de Oro City to highlight how one’s behavior and activities contribute to the safety of food and how one can avoid potential health hazards.

Leading the information drive on Food Safety Act of 2013 was the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Regulations (OASR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) headed by Atty. Hansel O. Didulo. It was participated by the different food safety regulatory agencies (FSRAs), food business operators (FBOs), agricultural and fishery councils (AFCs), provincial, city and municipal local government units, and farmers.

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“The main purpose of the law is to protect the consumers of food-borne and water-borne illnesses, and unsanitary, unwholesome or adulterated foods,” said ASec. Didulo while also encouraging the participants to bank on this law, considering that it has earned support from the government with its enactment.

Provided in the law, he added, that it aims to enhance industry and consumer confidence on food regulatory system and to achieve economic growth and development by promoting fair trade practices, at the same time.

Stakeholders’ role towards food safety

 

With the purpose of bringing the Act down to the grassroots level, the road show centered its discussion on the law’s salient features, stating that national government agencies involved include DA for primary food and the Department of Health (DOH) for processed foods or pre-packaged foods.

Pedro R. Dumaraos, Jr., Ph.D., food safety coordinator of OASR, likewise highlighted the principal responsibility of the local government units (LGUs) on food safety. “They shall be responsible for the implementation of the food safety requirements of foods produced within their areas of jurisdiction and that they shall be guided by national regulations,” he said.

Meanwhile, he reported that FSRAs shall support the Department of Interior and Local Government and LGUs in executing its food safety functions and urge them to use the food safety regulations and standards.

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FSRAs under DA include the Bureau of Animal Industry, National Meat Inspection Service, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority, Sugar Regulatory Administration and the National Food Authority.

On the other hand, the FBOs, AFCs, LGUs and the farmers, who are the frontlines in guaranteeing food safety, were introduced to the codes of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP).  These are established government policies and programs for addressing food safety hazards.

Initiatives on Food Safety in R-10

At the regional level, Juliet B. Araos, chief of the Regulatory Division of DA-Regional Field Office 10 reported updates before the body on the initiatives that the region has undertaken relative to food safety.

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She said the agency serves as a member of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Environment and Health headed by DOH and has participated in the drafting of the proposed creation of the Regional Food Safety Regulatory Coordinating Board.

“We saw it as a very important entry point for different agencies to cascade food safety concerns at the local level and to have a smooth engagement with the LGUs thru the Regional Development Council,” Araos explained.

In addition, she conveyed that the region has intensified briefings for certification of farms, resulting to 14 GAP and three organic certified farms while other farms have on-going applications.

Despite the strides, Araos added that the region will continue to strengthen its mechanisms to stress food safety. It will collectively do so through the conduct of orientations on the said law, creation of modules, formation of a quick response team, capability building for implementers, among other activities.

With the affair at hand, the DA eyes that all involved in the food safety systems, whether from the government or the private sector, will help in the enhancement of regulatory services in adherence to the Act to ensure not only affordable and available food for all, but safety and quality food. (DA-10)

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)

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)