Author Topic: Better Days For Agriculture:  (Read 1689 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4232
    • View Profile
Better Days For Agriculture:
« on: August 14, 2008, 11:58:58 AM »
Better Days For Agriculture
The DA has become more bullish about pushing the development of markets for agribusiness. This has led many to believe that the next three years will be better for Filipino farmers and fisherfolks.

Two months ago, DA Secretary Arthur Yap delivered an extemporaneous speech to the farmers and fisherfolks of Florida Blanca, Pampanga during the formal launching of pangasius, the fish from Vietnam which, experts say, could be the next alternative to tilapia and bangus. The speech highlighted the DA’s resolve to fu fill its promise of providing food for every Filipino table by 2010. The following translated excerpts of Secretary Yap’s speech would reveal why, despite the current political problems, observers believe, things will turn out better for Philippine agriculture in the next three years.

In celebration of World Food Day, we have always emphasized that food is not a privilege but a basic right. My colleagues have always emphasized the importance of increasing production and yields of our crops and animals. I want to emphasize the importance of markets. As former Secretary Lito Sarmiento said awhile ago, we must know our customers. Why? Because there is no money in primary agriculture. Dried palay sells at Phpi2-Phpi3 per kilo, but if it is sold as milled rice, it can fetch a price of Php25 to PhP3o. Farm gate prices of tilapia is around PhP4o to PhP5o per kilo, but once it reaches the market, it sells at around PhP75 to Php8o. The money is in the market.

We have been given funds by the government and our focus is to improve the status of our agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap: “Money in agriculture comes from the market.”

Secretary Yap recently launched the pangasius fish in Florida Blanca, Pampanga. He says there is a tremendous market for this commodity in the  international market. (Secretary Yap recently announced that DA is eyeing a PhP560-million expansion program for 2008 to increase the production of, and broaden exports for high-value commercial crops. Recently, newspaper reports said President Arroyo released a Php 1 billion fund for hunger mitigation. Among those prioritize to receive the budget are the DA, NFA, NIA. Department of Education and Department of Socia Welfare. DA intends to use the funds for its projects, food terminals and barangay food outlets, livestock, crops, mangrove and coastal development, irrigation and infrastructure repair.) We are an agricultural country. There are 15 million Filipinos who are dependent on farming an fisheries. Our Gross Domestic Product contribution in the country is 20%. If our country is to further develop, it must start from agriculture. But we cannot improve on our agriculture if our farmers are not making profits. That’s why we have a five-point program to boost our agricultural yields and make farming more profitable. We have infrastructure projects and we recently increased our funds for irrigation. For fisherfolks in coastal communities, Director Malcolm Sarmiento of BFAR and me are finishing our program for mobile reapers. These are two-tonner mobile refrigeration units which is now in the NEDA-ICT. We are doing this because the capacity to mold a commodity is the capacity to make money. If farmers have no capacity to hold on to their harvest, it is the traders and middlemen who benefit more. So those are our programs-postharvest facilities, storage and the improvement of markets.

We have already installed 10 markets in Metro Manila which is really intended as a “bagsakan” for farmers for fishermen. If you need refrigerated transport, we have the postharvest and research to help you. Farmers can now sell their produce in the Pritil market because the DA leases a space there.

We have an objective for 2010-to put food on the tables and plates of every Filipino. We are doing this with the help of the private sector. That’s why our emphasis right now is in giving marketing support and providing access to markets-both domestic and international. The Department of Agriculture will help you as long as we can keep on producing. We are positive that with your help, we can deliver our promise for 2010!


  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4232
    • View Profile
Re: Better Days For Agriculture:
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 07:36:06 AM »
Mangoes For The World
Leaders of the Philippine mango sector are once more getting their acts together in order to beat the perennial production and marketing odds.

At the recently held 9th Mango Congress, sector leaders once more reinforced the industry’s mission to enhance global competitiveness levels in production, processing and marketing of our world famous Super Manila mangoes. This, they say, can be done by integrating industry efforts and providing stakeholders with safe environment and opportunities to optimize profits.

The industry’s strength, so the leaders claim, lies in the fact that we have the best mangoes in the world. We are also producing the best dried mango. With technology breakthroughs, a year-round production is now possible. In fact, our peak season coincides with the most favorable markets for Hongkong and China. But we have erratic and relatively low yield, short storage life, high freight cost, and insufficient supply for processing. These are just some of the issues which were discussed during the three day congress.

The Department of Agriculture aims to increase mango production to 2 million metric tons by 2020, and increase export by 15% annually up to 2010 (and 10% annually up to 2020). Likewise, DA’s goal is to increase the per capita consumption from 11kg. to 16kg.

The 9th Mango Congress, which was attended by more than 300 participants all over the country, was held last year at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay City. It was hosted by the Cavite Mango Growers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMGMPC). MARID Agribusiness Digest sat down with Atty. Ernesto C. Perez II, CMGMPC Chairman, and discussed with him recent industry updates.


What makes this Mango Congress different?
The main difference is the two topics that we highlighted. Number one, we want to introduce to the mango farmers the concept of value chain. Number two, we also want to introduce the concept of fair trade in the Philippines. We’ve all heard that the export potential of mango is very high. However, you have, on the one hand, the potential of being an export winner and on the other hand, the 2.5 million small mango growers who are still marginalized and very much unorganized. So in the middle, a lot of the benefits of this potential are being felt by the middlemen and the traders but not by the farmers.

So what does fair trade do?
Fair trade assures the farmers that the prices in the world market would directly benefit them. How is this done? They have a mechanism that only fair trade mangoes, so to speak, are brought by several entrepreneurs in other countries. Fair trade products are priced a little bit higher that the market prices.

There’s an understanding that when we buy from a fair trade organization, it would put back into the community the additional benefit that they had. They have scholarship programs. They have introduction of health services for the marginalized farmers. Another highlight of this congress is our reinforcement of the need to be organized. If we’re organized, as one speaker said, we could have production forecasting. We have 2.5 million Filipinos who don’t know each other, more or less. So if every one of them plants at the same time, they also harvest the same time. By law of supply and demand, you have a very high supply of mangoes, and the prices become so low. But if you have production forecasting, if you group them, you organize them and production is programmed. Say, group A will induce flowers for January. Next week is group B and next is group C. If this is the system, you now have a production forecast where you can see how much mango will be produced on a weekly basis, so when harvesting time comes, you have depressed prices because of oversupply of mangoes-and you will have a very stable supply and therefore, a very good price.

A speaker said Mexico is now the number one supplier of mangoes in the export market and the Mexicans are also calling their product Manila mangoes. What’s the latest development on this issue?
It has become a long standing battle between Mexico and the Philippines. They call their mangoes Manila mangoes because during the galleon trade when we were still a colony of Spain, they used to bring mango seedlings from the Philippines direct to Mexico. They came from Manila and they call it Manila mango. There have been efforts to challenge that-the use of Manila mango by Mexico in the international trade organization. As to the update of that, I am not really sure. But the BPI is spearheading the efforts to fight that. They cannot claim to be Manila mango and tell the whole world that they have the sweetest mango. For the record, we are in Manila and we have the sweetest mango in the world.

A speaker also said that the mango plan has already been drawn a long time ago. It is really the implementation that has become a problem. What’s your comment on this?
It all takes commitment from everyone. Yes, the problems have already been identified. There’s a clear cut solution and recommendation to address these problems. But the problem is, number one, funding. Number two is lack of commitment of some of the people. We have to overcome the changes in leadership of each bureau. For example, the DA’s HVCC are now focused on mango. If the coordinator would be promoted and another one takes his/her place, the focus sometimes changes. That’s why to counteract that, we have stressed that this congress is private sector led. We just ask support from the government. What we need is a bunch of committed people from the private sector and make sure that the action plans which have been published will continue to be actualized. Otherwise, it would really be all talk and talk. We would not move forward as an industry if that’s the case.


  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4232
    • View Profile
Re: Better Days For Agriculture:
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2008, 09:46:58 AM »
Two CPAR Farmer Cooperators Succeed in Banana Production, Processing
Success never comes easy to anyone. The elements of success are always there, but one has to work hard to achieve it.

Two banana farmers in Poblacion in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat already did. One of them is 53-year-old Rodolfo Sarmiento of Purok Osmena 1. Nong Rudy, as he is fondly called by his friends, has been farming all his life. And with the two-hectare land he inherited from his parents, there’s no reason why he should astray from farming.

His main dream in life is to live in bounty. But due to lack of knowledge and linkage in crop production, his farming did not offer much potential for growth then.

Fortunately, he had the chance to prosper in banana production in 2005 when the Department of Agriculture-Central Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-CEMIARC) and the local government unit of Bagumbayan introduced the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project on Cardava banana production. It’s a platform for technology assessment, which the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) coordinated.

Interested in the bright prospect of the CPAR, he signed up as a farmer-cooperator and attended the seminars and trainings on banana production and processing that the Project offered to hone his skills. He was later assigned as the business manager of the Bagumbayan Banana Growers Association that he and 29 other farmer-cooperators formed.

Through the CPAR, the Association was given planting materials to raise and nurture until these are ready for distribution to farmer-cooperators. NongRudy, for instance, was given 180 Cardava plantlets and 20 Lakatan plantlets to start with. To increase his income from banana, he intercropped it with corn, squash, okra, stringbeans, coconut, rambutan, and coffee.

From his banana plantation alone, he harvests two to three times in a month, and earns P5,000 monthly. He also sells banana blossoms (puso ng saging) and uses the income he derives from this for the gasoline of his motorcycle. But what’s really good is that because of his income from banana, he was able to send his children to school and expand his plantation.

Now that his business is growing gradually, the bountiful life he once dreamed of is becoming a reality. And even though success did not easily come to him, Nong Rudy shares his blessings to his fellow farmers. He has given them 500 suckers for them to start with and encouraged them to venture into banana production.

Another successful farmer-cooperator is Rebecca Lantog, a retired teacher in Purok Osmena 2. Ma’am Beck, as she is fondly called, owns a 24-hectare farm. She is also a farmer-scientist of Bagumbayan Farmers Information and Technology Services Center, president of the Women’s Municipal Federation, and treasurer of the Rural Improvement Club of Barangay Poblacion.

Like Nong Rudy, she had the chance to widen her knowledge on banana production when the CEMIARC and the LGU conducted various seminars and trainings in their village. And since she is a farmer-cooperator, her land area was used as a nursery for tissue-cultured meri-plants, which she and other farmer-cooperators used as starter plants.

She also engaged into diversified farming to boost her income; she planted other crops such as oil palm, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, coconut, vegetables, and integrated these with livestock, poultry and fishery.

Eventually, because her farm sufficiently produces banana, Ma’am Beck ventured into banana processing; she produces crunchy saba.

The first phase of this new business is successful that’s why she is encouraging the women in Poblacion to help in the business. In this way, she would be able to continue providing them livelihood. At the moment, she sells her crunchy saba in her village and nearby towns, and hopefully someday, she would be able to expand its market.


< >

Privacy Policy