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mikey

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D.A. News Updates:
« on: March 23, 2008, 12:15:18 AM »
March 2, 2008 - D.A. sets Pre-Food Summit Regional Workshop in the Visayas   
The Department of Agriculture (DA) will stage in Cebu this week the Visayan and last leg of the regional consultations with local chief executives and private sector stakeholders in preparation for the national food summit that the Arroyo administration is holding in April to harmonize all initiatives to sustain the growth momentum of the farm sector over the next three years.
 
Venue of the daylong forum is the Crown Regency Suite in Cebu City. Similar consultative meetings were also held at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga on Feb. 19 and at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City on Feb. 22 for the respective stakeholders in Luzon and Metro Manila, while those for Mindanaoans were conducted on Feb. 26 at the Grand Caprice Hotel in Cagayan De Oro City and on Feb. 29 at the APO View Hotel in Davao City.
 
These regional meetings are underway in preparation for the National Food Summit at the Manila Hotel -Tent, which President Arroyo had ordered the DA to host on April 4 in order to attune all farm-related government programs to her administration’s objectives of “Pagkain sa bawat mesa-Laban sa kahirapan” and “Negosyo sa Sakahan-Laban sa kahirapan.”
 
The regional forums are patterned after the multisectoral consultative session that the DA held with over agriculture and fisheries leaders at the Seameo-Innotech in Quezon City in May last year.
 
Attended by over 100 sectoral and agribusiness leaders, this May 2007 workshop at Seameo-Innotech enabled the Department craft a slew of intervention measures that buoyed farm yields and perked up exports despite the dry spell in the second half of the year. As a result, the farm sector grew by a stronger-than-expected 4.68%, thereby helping drive the 2007 gross domestic product to 7.3%, or the highest in 31 years.
 
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said “these regional consultations are necessary for the DA to consolidate the main agriculture-related issues and concerns at the national and local levels, and then identify the government intervention measures plus food-sufficiency initiatives and budgets needed to keep the farm sector on its high growth course in the medium term.”
 
The DA’s National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), led by Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla, is the lead agency in these regional consultations, which the DA is sponsoring in cooperation with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); and the Departments of Agrarian Reform (DAR), of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and of Science and Technology (DOST).
 
Yap said the action plans to be drawn up in these regional consultations will have to complement the DA’s five-pillar program that focuses on higher spending on irrigation and rural infrastructure, on postharvest facilities, and on research and development or R&D and extension work; widening the access to rural credit; and finding more local and foreign markets for Philippine products.
 
President Arroyo ordered the DA last January to conduct the food summit with the end view of crafting a comprehensive program for rural development for the remainder of her term, he said.
 
Following the President’s directive, he said, the DA has invited an array of representatives of farmers and fishers organizations, industry and professional associations, sectoral groups like consumers and transport organizations, academe and regional development councils to the April summit.
 
He said that the central areas of concern in the would-be summit cover five commodity clusters, namely, rice, corn, high-value commercial crops or HVCCs, livestock and poultry, and fisheries and aquaculture.
 
“This upcoming food summit aims to spawn doable action programs between now and 2010 that dovetail with the Department’s five-pillar growth agenda and address the emerging global challenges such as climate change, surging food demand by fast-growing economies like China and India, and the deepening clash in certain countries between crop production for food and biofuel feedstock,” Yap said.
 
“President Arroyo just recently directed us at the DA to host such a summit so we can mobilize all sectors in crafting action agenda in pursuit of our mandate to focus on food and jobs, as provided for in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan or MTPDP,” he added.
 
“Through this planned summit,” he said, “we hope to harmonize the major initiatives of the national and local governments with those of the private sector that pertain to raising farm yields, attracting investments and creating jobs in the countryside, and stabilizing the supply and prices of basic foodstuff.” ###   
 
 


nemo

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2008, 12:34:47 AM »
Sir mikey, thanks for the post and updates
Merry Christmas...
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mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2008, 06:07:34 AM »
March 7, 2008 - Yap allays fears of possible food crisis   
Secretary Arthur Yap has allayed fears of a looming food crisis, saying that Filipino consumers can expect enough supply of rice this year as good weather in the first semester plus the intensive intervention programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will help Government hit its 2008 production target of a record 17.33 million metric tons (MT).
 
Yap said the DA is optimistic that this production target—equivalent to a national self-sufficiency level of 92 %—can be met, given field reports that the palay-planting schedules and area coverage for the summer crop season are on track and the onset of the La Nina phenomenon, which will benefit farmers growing the grains in over a million hectares of rainfed areas nationwide.
 
“I do not see a food crisis, which means an absence of food or rationing and food lines,” he said in a press briefing. “I do not see that on the basis of the food production that has been programmed, and the onset of La Nina that will bring rain to a lot of our rainfed areas.”
 
Moreover, he said, President Arroyo has already secured a commitment from Vietnam , one of the world’s largest rice exporters, to sell to us a still-undetermined volume to help fill the Philippines ’ national requirement for the staple.
 
Yap said that one area of concern, though, is the spike in the cost of the staple arising from spiraling prices in the world market, which, in turn, was brought about by such factors as swelling demand by fast-growing economies and harvest slumps triggered by climate change.
 
“Demand is growing but supply is not catching up that much because of climate change,” he said. “We have to accept na nagbabago talaga ang klima (that climate is changing).”
 
He said the government will address this pricing woe by, among others, putting on the fast-track the establishment of more bagsakan or drop-off points in urban markets along with barangay food terminals or BFTs, as a way to guarantee the access of ordinary consumers to quality but more affordable rice and other foodstuff.
 
Yap said the initial reports he has gotten from the field is that the DA’s Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program is on track in its first-quarter planting and harvest targets, although he hastened to add he will have to verify these preliminary field reports.
 
“The reports I have been getting initially for the first quarter for 2008 indicate that we are going to meet our target, although I still have to verify these initial field reports submitted to me,” he said.
 
Pointing out the difference between demand and supply gaps, he said what is happening now in the country is a “price gap,” because “all over the world there is really a constriction in supply, which is driving up the prices of local grains. And because this global situation is “driving up the prices of local grains,” he added, “we have to somehow pay the correct price for the staple and it would increase the income of our farmers.”
 
In last month’s Leaders Briefing by the DA for the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), an official of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that the La Nina phenomenon will last till June this year.
 
Because of Pagasa’s forecast of favorable weather, Yap told reporters that the DA hopes total harvests to exceed 7 million MT in the first semester, or higher than last year’s output of 6.8 million MT.
 
“I will not say I am overly confident, but when one of the production factors is good weather, and then there is strong indication for production to cross the 7-million MT mark for the first half of the year,” he said.
 
In the same LMP briefing, an executive of the Laguna-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said that palay harvests have reached a “plateau” in many countries, leading to a nearly 100% jump in global rice prices to close to $400 per MT over the past five years.
 
IRRI Social Sciences Division chief Randy Barker had traced the price spike to production slowdowns; climate changes; rising fertilizer and diesel prices; overexploitation of water resources; the recent diversification into non-rice crops and loss of lands for palay planting; uncertainties in the global market; and the traders’ tendency to hoard stocks in anticipation of possible supply shortages.
 
Yap had informed over 40 provincial chapter heads of the LMP led by its president, Mayor Ramon Guico of Binalonan, Pangasinan, in the same briefing session that the DA hopes to hurdle this global threat by carrying out a package of intervention measures designed to raise crop harvests to historic peaks and enable Government to sustain the growth momentum of the agriculture sector.
 
He said the DA will expand areas planted with certified seeds to 600,000 hectares of rainfed lowlands and low-yielding irrigated sites, as part of the President’s Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program, and will implement location-specific intervention measures like providing farmers with Bio-N, Zinc Sulfate and other soil ameliorants.
 
A third cropping season under the DA’s Quick-Turnaround (QTA) program will cover 100,000 hectares of fully irrigated areas this year using hybrid and certified seeds, he said, and another 60,000 areas of restored or newly irrigated areas will also be planted to hybrid and inbred seeds.###   
 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2008, 06:10:43 AM »
March 8, 2008 - D.A. eyeing 3rd planting after summer harvests under QTA program   
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is poised to advance after the summer harvests its third cropping season for palay under its quick turnaround program to take advantage of the weather bureau’s forecast of the La Nina phenomenon lasting till mid-2008.
 
DA Secretary Arthur Yap said that instead of last year’s mode of inserting a third planting after the wet season under the QTA, the Department will encourage farmers to plant a second crop immediately after the harvest during the first half of the dry season.
 
Yap noted that the forecast by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), as conveyed last week by its weather services chief Nathaniel Cruz during the DA’s Leaders’ Briefing for the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), showed that rains triggered by La Nina would last until the first half of the year.
 
This PAGASA forecast means there will be adequate water for more than a million hectares of rainfed areas planted to palay, he said.
 
“So we might advance the QTA. Our farmers can plant after harvesting during summer before we go the main wet cropping season,” Yap said.
 
Yap raised this possibility after Cruz pointed out during the Leaders’ Briefing at the Century Park Hotel in Manila that La Nina conditions prevailing across the tropical Pacific Ocean have intensified, from moderate to strong, towards the end of January this year.
 
Based on recent equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature trends and model forecasts, Cruz had said that PAGASA predicts that the La Nina episode in the country could last until June or August this year.
 
Yap had earlier announced that the DA was institutionalizing the QTA program as a long-term strategy to raise palay yields by at least 20% annually and enable the government to attain national self-sufficiency in this staple.
 
The insertion of a third planting season last year through the QTA in some 100,000 hectares in the Visayas and Mindanao had offset crop losses in four Luzon regions hit by the dry spell—and helped the DA drive the farm sector to a better-than-forecasted growth of 4.68%. This strong performance, in turn, had helped the gross domestic product expand by a 30-year-high of 7.3% in 2007.
 
The QTA program for 2007 managed to raise harvests of palay to 350,000 MT and of corn to 200,000 MT more, defying earlier forecasts that last year’s dry spell would pull down crop yields, particularly in the four palay-growing regions buffeted by the climate change.
 
Yap noted that the adoption of the QTA program will help the Department achieve a national rice self-sufficiency level of 92%, which will help fulfill President Arroyo’s “Pagkain sa Bawat Mesa-Laban sa Kahirapan” goal.
 
During the DA briefing for over 40 LMP executives, Yap said that the government is carrying out a package of intervention measures anchored on the massive use of high-yield seeds, irrigation of drought-prone areas and opening up of new areas for palay as a way to raise crop harvests to historic peaks and enable the DA sustain the growth momentum of the farm sector this year and onwards.
 
Yap said that the DA is targeting a 6.67% increase in palay harvests this year to an all-time high of 17.33 million metric tons (MT).
 
The DA is bullish on hitting, if not even surpassing, its production targets for rice in 2008 despite the emerging challenges to Philippine agriculture, such as shrinking harvests and spiraling food prices in the global market, the swelling demand for food by fast-rising economies like China and India, and the emerging clash in certain parts of the world between crop production for food and for biofuel feedstock because of the unwavering commitment of President Arroyo to agricultural and fisheries modernization, Yap said.
 
He also cited the continued support by LGUs and all other stakeholders in the private sector for the intervention measures that the DA has been undertaking—and will continue to undertake—to keep the farm sector on its high growth course.
 
Last year, total palay production reached 16.24 million MT, or 5.96% above the previous year’s level of 15.33 million MT, despite the dry spell that extended up to July and the series of typhoons during the 4th quarter.
 
Yap noted that in the 4th quarter of 2007, palay production registered a remarkable 10.11% increase owing to the implementation of a third cropping, mostly in Mindanao , through the DA’s QTA and planting of certified seeds under rainfed-lowland and low-yielding irrigated areas. ###   
 
 
 
   

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2008, 06:17:53 AM »
March 6, 2008 - US, Japan remain top export markets for RP farm goods   
The United States and Japan remain as the top export markets for Philippine agricultural products, with coconut products along with tropical fruits and tuna as the leading commodities being sold overseas, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
 
DA Secretary Arthur Yap said that from January to November last year alone, agricultural exports worth $3.63 billion reached 8.4 million metric tons, with the Philippines’ “Top 10” farm commodities representing 53% or $1.9 billion of the total export earnings.
 
Data from the DA’s Export Development Team led by Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat showed that the United States was last year’s No. 1 destination for Philippine agricultural exports, as sales to that country reached $604.4 million for the January-November period.
 
The US was followed by Japan with $386.3 million of farm goods bought from the Philippines. The Netherlands, with $230.4 million; Korea, $168.4 million; and Thailand $ $96.08 million, complete the “Top 5” destinations for Philippine agricultural products for the said 11-month period.
 
Puyat reported that coconut oil was the country’s top export, with $626.4 million worth of this commodity sold overseas, followed by fresh bananas, $363 million; pineapple and pineapple products, $223.9 million; tuna $182 million; and dessicated coconut $146.6 million.
 
Processed tropical fruits, which posted sales of $134.4 million; seaweeds and carageenan,  $82.7 million; sugar, $77 million, prawns and shrimps, $66.1 million; and copra oil cake, $37.6 million, round up the Philippines’ “Top 10” agricultural exports for 2007, Puyat said.
 
The DA’s aggressive efforts to strengthen existing export markets and tap new ones for agricultural products form part of its Five-Pillar program, which comprise higher public spending on (1) infrastructure, (2) technology and extension services, and (3) postharvest and storage facilities; and (4) expanding access to rural credit, and (5) opening new markets here and overseas for Philippine agro-fishery products.
 
Yap said this program to sustain and accelerate farm growth and raise the profitability of agriculture for its small stakeholders is in compliance with the mandate set by President Arroyo for the DA under her Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, which is to focus on food security and job generation.
 
Unmatched spending by President Arroyo on agriculture and fisheries enabled the farm sector to grow by 4.68% last year, thereby helping the Gross Domestic Product hit a 30-year-high growth of 7.4%, Yap said.
 
Yap said the farm sector will greatly benefit from the recent directive by President Arroyo for a “surge” in infrastructure buildup—which will include higher investments in irrigation works and postharvest facilities—as a way to sustain the high growth of the domestic economy and insulate it from a feared recession in the US arising from the subprime credit crisis.
 
Last year, the DA’s Export Development Team was able to book a total of $749 million in sales and orders for Philippine fresh and processed food items through its participation in trade shows and missions in the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Thailand, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Russia.
 
The DA has also secured the assurance of Australian authorities to continue its review of its import risk analysis for the Philippine tropical fruits, the last remaining stumbling block to the entry of the country’s mangoes, bananas and pineapples in the highly lucrative Australian market. ###   
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2008, 06:20:10 AM »
March 9, 2008 - GMA taking decisive steps vs rural poverty, global warming   
WASHINGTON—President Arroyo has taken decisive steps to attack rural poverty in the Philippines and at the same time contribute to the snowballing campaign against global warming by cashing-in on the booming biofuels sector, said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap in an international energy forum here.
 
Alongside signing a law mandating the pre-blending of coco-biodiesel or ethanol in regular fuel and providing incentives to new players in the biofuels industry, Yap told the recent Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) that President Arroyo has also embarked on a massive rural infrastructure build-up to set the stage for a local business environment more conducive to the development of this sunrise industry.
 
Yap also underscored the bigger role that first-world economies which consume petroleum the most—and thus emit the largest volumes of greenhouse gases—must play in reducing such toxic-waste emissions, and in taking swifter action to address this worsening problem that has triggered economically-disruptive climate changes across the globe.
 
He told the over 1000 WIREC participants that the world’s economies now capitalizing on the production of alternative, eco-friendly fuels must never sacrifice the need for food and sustenance of their respective citizens in favor of the ballooning global appetite for plant-based crops for biofuel conversion.
 
This emerging conflict in certain economies between the use of food crops for human consumption and for biofuels feedstock conversion is a non-issue in the Philippines, said Yap, because the government has given—and will always give—top priority to crop production for human consumption, in keeping with the medium-term food security and self-sufficiency goals of President Arroyo.
 
Yap was one of five chosen speakers during the March 5 plenary session of the WIREC on Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development plenary session of the WIREC. He had spoken ahead of US President Bush during this conference, which was attended by more than a thousand representatives, including 96 senior ministers, from 130 countries.
 
The other speakers to the conference, included recently-confirmed US Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer; Marcos Jank, the president and CEO of the Brazilian Sugar Cane Industry Association; Polish Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki; and Robert Lane, CEO of John Deere and Co.
 
He had attended the energy forum along with Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes.
Yap told the participants that President Arroyo signed into law Republic Act No. 9367 last year, which gave deadlines for the calibrated pre-blending of gasoline sold by oil stations with 10% ethanol, and of diesel with 2% coco methyl ester (CME) or coco-biodiesel.
 
As an incentive to private business, he said that RA 9367 exempted local or imported biofuels “component” from sales taxes while the acquisition of raw material used in biofuel conversion was exempted from the payment of the value-added tax. 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2008, 06:24:42 AM »
March 01, 2008 - Yap cites new law extending ACEF   
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has said that Philippine agriculture will get a needed infusion of P6-billion in extra funds this year alone following President Arroyo’s recent signing of a law extending the life of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) to 2015.
 
Yap lauded Congress for earlier passing the ACEF-extension bill—and President Arroyo for signing it into law last week—as he noted that had the legislature and executive branches failed to act swiftly on the measure, this program would have expired in end-2007 and led to the turnover to the National Treasury of P6-billion in ACEF subsidies otherwise intended for projects meant to sharpen the global competitiveness of Filipino farmers.
 
“On behalf of the Philippine agriculture sector, we would like to thank the President and Congress for having extended ACEF by eight years,” Yap said.
 
We are mindful that the ACEF was enacted into law and the fund was created as a response to the safety-net demand of our agriculture sector when it was opened up to global free trade during the term of President Ramos. I believe the fund, if properly utilized and used significantly for food processing, value adding, and postharvest facilities, has a potential to modernize Philippine agriculture. So we welcome very much the extension of the law.”
 
He said the extension of ACEF, which was originally due to expire in December 2007, would go a long way in helping Malacañang attain its objectives of “Negosyo sa Sakahan-Laban sa Kahirapan” and “Pagkain sa Bawat Mesa-Laban sa Kahirapan.”
 
The new law, which was originally House Bill No. 2976 or “An Act to Extend the Utilization Period of the ACEF,” was signed by President Arroyo last Wednesday during the Mindanao Cluster Congress of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City.

This bill was fully supported by Palawan Rep. Abraham Kahlil Mitra and Senator and former agriculture secretary Edgardo Angara.   Mitra and Angara are the respective heads of the House and Senate committees on agriculture.
 
Both chambers passed the Mitra and Angara ACEF bill before adjourning last December for the traditional yearend recess of Congress.

The new law amended Republic Act No. 8178, otherwise known as “An Act Replacing Quantitative Import Restrictions on Agricultural Products Except Rice with Tariffs, and Creating the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).”
 
“ACEF’s extension is crucial to the attainment of the goal of the Department of Agriculture (DA) goal to help small farmers move beyond primary agriculture and into value-added higher-earning enterprises, because it will mean additional resources for the farm sector between now and 2015,” he said.
 
He said the extended ACEF program will also be a key element in helping the DA significantly reduces postharvest losses that cut back on agricultural productivity and farm incomes, thereby “dovetailing with the DA’s objective of not only boosting agricultural productivity but improving as well the profitability of farming and fishing, especially for its small stakeholders.”
 
 “The unreleased ACEF balance and its unremitted amount would have been transferred to the general fund of the government without the enactment of an amendatory law stretching the life of this program by eight more years,” Yap sad.
 
ACEF consists of all the duties collected from the importation of agricultural products under the minimum access volume (MAV) mechanism, he said.
 
He said that the Fund’s entire proceeds are earmarked exclusively by Congress for irrigation, farm-to-market roads, postharvest facilities, credit, research and development, retraining, extension services and marketing infrastructure in the agriculture sector.
 
Following the passage of this ACEF extension law, Yap said the DA is now urging Congress to pass other bills restructuring the National Food Authority; plugging loopholes in the agrarian-reform credit and financing system for agrarian reform beneficiaries through banking institutions; and creating the Magna Carta for agricultural workers.
 
Yap added that the DA is also backing bills establishing a land use code and creating a Trade Representative Office to help unify the government’s fragmented approach to trade. ###

 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
   
 
 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2008, 12:17:00 PM »
February 29, 2008 - D.A. swiftly contains rice bug infestation   
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has swiftly placed under control the rice black bug (RBB) infestation in one of the isolated municipalities of Isabela, preventing the spread of the pest in other palay fields in the province and elsewhere in the region.

In a report to Secretary Arthur Yap, Dr. Andrew Villacorta, the Department’s regional coordinator for the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Rice Program in Cagayan Valley, said that DA laboratories in the region are now mass producing Metarhizium, a bio-control agent against RBB for distribution to farmers in order to reverse the spread of this palay pest.
 
On top of these measures, the DA is also undertaking a massive information campaign to educate farmers on how to control the spread of the RBB in the province.
The RBB infestation in the coastal town of Dinapigue in Isabela was first reported by Municipal Agriculturist Carmelo Abalos early in January.

Upon learning of the presence of the RBB in the coastal town, DA regional officials quickly sent a team from the Regional Crop Protection Center to verify the extent of the infestation and formed a Multi-Agency RBB Task Force to carry out monitoring, surveillance and quarantine measures to contain and eradicate the pest.

In his report to Yap, Villacorta said that 36 hectares of RBB-infested rice lands in Isabela have already been treated to prevent the spread of the pest.
 
“The infestation in Dinapigue, which is a coastal town at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains and can be reached via the province of Quirino for about 10-12 hours trip by land, is an isolated case and is now under control,” Villacorta said. “A quarantine checkpoint was also set-up in Nagtipunan, Quirino, the entry point between Aurora and Quirino to regulate the possible entry of an alternate RBB host.”

In September last year, the DA also swiftly carried out measures to check the spread of the coconut leaf beetle, an invasive coconut pest scientifically known as the Brontispa longgissima.

Senator Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate food and agriculture committee and himself a former agriculture secretary,   had commended Yap and the DA for swiftly and decisively addressing this grave threat to the P40-billion domestic coconut industry. 

Angara noted that Yap’s move to involve the local government units in the ongoing efforts to contain and eradicate the Brontispa pest was critical to the success of this program.
Earlier in July last year, the DA was also able to quickly respond to the outbreak of the hog cholera and other swine diseases that had struck a few farms in Bulacan and Pampanga.

The DA’s swift response to pest and disease outbreaks form part of Yap’s marching orders to Department officials this year  to meet  the twin challenges of creating jobs and producing food for Filipinos, which are the primary objectives of President Arroyo’s mandate for the DA under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan of her administration.

Besides disease prevention, containment and eradication, Yap said the DA will accomplish these primary objectives through the following components: better seed or species, and farm and fishery technologies, science, research and biotechnology; extension and training; weather tracking, disaster prevention and management,  soil and water conservation, including marine and aquaculture resources; market access, product standards, packaging, promotions, trade and international negotiations; logistics, transport and postharvest facilities; and, finance and insurance.
 
Yap had told his fellow DA officials that they should undertake these interventions with urgency in compliance with the overriding goal of President Arroyo to rapidly bring the benefits of economic growth directly to the people, and leave a lasting legacy that will be felt by small farmers, fisherfolk and other rural agri-fishery stakeholders.

He traced last year’s strong performance of the agriculture sector despite the dry spell mainly to the move by President Arroyo to raise public spending on rural infrastructure like irrigation and postharvest facilities to a record high, brought about by the dramatic turnaround of the economy on her watch.

Yap said that 2007’s unequaled public investments in the farm sector will be replicated this year as President Arroyo already ordered a surge in infrastructure and social spending this year to jump-start economic growth and protect the domestic economy from the feared recession in the United States brought about by its real estate lending woes.###


 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2008, 12:19:32 PM »
February 27, 2008 - Garin orders moratorium on cutting of coconut trees effective March 10   
Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Oscar G. Garin has ordered a moratorium on the issuances of Permits to Cut Coconut Trees (PCCTs) and the corresponding Transport/Transshipment Clearances (TTCs) except on limited exceptions pursuant to PCA Board Resolution 02-008 effective March 10, 2008.
 
Taking into consideration the plight of would be displaced traders, and to give them ample time to seek alternate livelihood sources, Administrator Garin has declared a transition period before the effectivity date.  Those entitled to the transitory provisions will only be those with permits approved on or before February 19, 2008.
 
“We will implement this moratorium to once and for all arrest the ever increasing and unabated incidence of illegal cutting” Garin declared underscoring the need for stricter regulations to stop the illicit practices of unscrupulous coconut lumber traders in circumventing Republic Act 8048 or the law on illegal coconut tree cutting.
 
Under Memorandum Circular No. 02-2008 issued by the Administrator on February 12, 2008, all issuances of PTTCs and TTCs are ordered suspended nationwide except on limited exceptions - for typhoon-damaged coconut trees in declared typhoon calamity areas; for trees which pose threat and danger to life, limb and property; for areas duly authorized for conversion; and for personal use of the farmer for family housing or animal shed which should not exceed five trees.
 
The memorandum likewise restricts the transportation of coconut lumber within the provincial territorial limits only, and with the use only of a four-wheeler vehicle such as jeepney, pick-up or flatbed “elf” and the likes, with a maximum load capacity of two thousand board feet of coconut lumber approximately from 20 coconut trees.
 
“One major objective is to discourage long distance hauling to allow law enforcers to easily identify the illegal transport of coco lumber.”  Garin stressed as he declares an intensified nationwide campaign against illegal coconut tree cutting.
 
Garin warned that violators of Republic Act 8048 and the rules and regulations issued by the PCA carry the stiff punishment of one (1) to six (6) years of imprisonment, or a fine of Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000), or both in the discretion of the court.
 
“The conservation of existing coconut trees is paramount to our objective of increasing coconut production to meet the growing demand for coconut products” Garin explained in exhorting all stakeholders to support the country’s coconut conservation efforts.  He is enjoining the public to report to the nearest PCA office sightings of coco lumber loaded on more than four wheelers.
   

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2008, 12:24:39 PM »
December 29, 2007 - Malunggay in the City, DA launched urban farming program   
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) launched an urban farming program designed to empower urban poor communities through farming malunggay to fight hunger poverty and malnutrition.
 
A joint project of the DA, Aktibong Kapatiran Tungo sa Iisang Bayan (AKTIB) and the Asian Center for Grassroots Communication and Advocacy (Asian Grassroots), the program aims to promote the backyard planting of malunggay, in the city.
 
Scientifically known as moringa oleifera lamk, malunggay leaves are naturally rich in vitamins C and A, calcium, protein, iron and potassium.
 
The DA has identified a total of 14 barangays in five cities and one municipality in Metro Manila as pilot areas for the project, which Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said would also be launched in urban poor communities in Metro Iloilo, Metro Davao, Metro Naga and other metropolitan areas in the Philippines including Zamboanga del Norte, the poorest province in the country according to a study of the National Statistics Coordination Board in 2006.
 
The planting of malunggay will initially be carried out in Barangays Commonwealth, Payatas  and Pinyahan in Quezon City; Barangays Bagong Silang, Camarin, Tala Bukid Area and Malaria in Caloocan City; Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City; Barangay San Antonio in Makati City; Barangay Nanca and Parang in Marikina City; and Barangay Sta. Ana in the Municipality of Pateros.
 
Through the program, urban poor communities in the Quezon City, Caloocan City, Mandaluyong City, Makati City, Marikina City and Pateros under AKTIB will receive malunggay seedlings from the DA to help them achieve better quality of life and better health brought about by the crop nutritional value and health a greener urban communities.
 
Malunggay has great agri-business potential.  Powdered malunggay leaves are now being used for the biofortification of noodles, soups, bread and other snacks, while the seeds, using biotechnology, can produce pure and multipurpose oil.
 
The launching of Malunggay in the City made possible through the cooperation of the DA-Biotechnology Program Office (BPO), the Biotechnology for Life Media and Advocacy Resource Center, Asian Grassroots and AKTIB, is one of the highlights of this year celebration of the annual National Biotechnology Week, to be held every last week of November starting this year, as mandated by the President in Proclamation 1414.    (biolife news service)   
 
 
 
   

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2008, 12:32:00 PM »
December 29, 2007 - DA promotes beverage from malunggay   
Here’s a new refreshing way of consuming the lowly malunggay vegetable.
 
Following the massive campaign of the several health benefits form malunggay, a line of malunggay-based products have been released in the market. There is the malunggay oil for cooking, which can be used as an alternative to olive oil; the malunggay powder that can be used as flavoring or additive to pre-processed food products such as noodles and pandesal; malunggay tablets are also made as a health supplement.
 
Still, the list of malunggay-based products are growing because of the nutrients that can be derived from the vegetable, hence the innovation of refreshments from malunggay.
 
After the discovery of a Japanese businessman on the health benefits from malunggay, Mr. Mitsuo Shoji developed the malunggay tea, which he claims can cure many human diseases. Malunggay in tea bags are now widely sold in the market by companies in the private sector.
 
Meanwhile, Dr. Edwin Balbarino of the Visayas State University reported that malunggay juice is extracted from the leaves of the vegetable in Leyte. The extract is mixed with lemonsito juice to produce iced candies or cold drinks for children who normally do not like eating vegetables.
 
The malunggay, also termed as moringa, is a vitamin rich vegetable, and contains protein, iron and potassium. It contains anti-oxidants that suppress the activities of free-radicals, which causes cell death.
 
As part of its campaign to combat poverty, malnutrition and other health disorders, the Department of Agriculture (DA) promotes the planting and consumption of moringa. Malunggay can be planted around using seeds and cuttings. The development of malunggay- based products and its commercialization is likewise promoted by DA. ####   
 
 
 
   

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2008, 12:34:04 PM »
December 29, 2007 - DA promotes beverage from malunggay   
Here’s a new refreshing way of consuming the lowly malunggay vegetable.
 
Following the massive campaign of the several health benefits form malunggay, a line of malunggay-based products have been released in the market. There is the malunggay oil for cooking, which can be used as an alternative to olive oil; the malunggay powder that can be used as flavoring or additive to pre-processed food products such as noodles and pandesal; malunggay tablets are also made as a health supplement.
 
Still, the list of malunggay-based products are growing because of the nutrients that can be derived from the vegetable, hence the innovation of refreshments from malunggay.
 
After the discovery of a Japanese businessman on the health benefits from malunggay, Mr. Mitsuo Shoji developed the malunggay tea, which he claims can cure many human diseases. Malunggay in tea bags are now widely sold in the market by companies in the private sector.
 
Meanwhile, Dr. Edwin Balbarino of the Visayas State University reported that malunggay juice is extracted from the leaves of the vegetable in Leyte. The extract is mixed with lemonsito juice to produce iced candies or cold drinks for children who normally do not like eating vegetables.
 
The malunggay, also termed as moringa, is a vitamin rich vegetable, and contains protein, iron and potassium. It contains anti-oxidants that suppress the activities of free-radicals, which causes cell death.
 
As part of its campaign to combat poverty, malnutrition and other health disorders, the Department of Agriculture (DA) promotes the planting and consumption of moringa. Malunggay can be planted around using seeds and cuttings. The development of malunggay- based products and its commercialization is likewise promoted by DA. ####   
 
 
 
   

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2008, 12:36:29 PM »
December 29, 2007 - DA promotes beverage from malunggay   
Here’s a new refreshing way of consuming the lowly malunggay vegetable.
 
Following the massive campaign of the several health benefits form malunggay, a line of malunggay-based products have been released in the market. There is the malunggay oil for cooking, which can be used as an alternative to olive oil; the malunggay powder that can be used as flavoring or additive to pre-processed food products such as noodles and pandesal; malunggay tablets are also made as a health supplement.
 
Still, the list of malunggay-based products are growing because of the nutrients that can be derived from the vegetable, hence the innovation of refreshments from malunggay.
 
After the discovery of a Japanese businessman on the health benefits from malunggay, Mr. Mitsuo Shoji developed the malunggay tea, which he claims can cure many human diseases. Malunggay in tea bags are now widely sold in the market by companies in the private sector.
 
Meanwhile, Dr. Edwin Balbarino of the Visayas State University reported that malunggay juice is extracted from the leaves of the vegetable in Leyte. The extract is mixed with lemonsito juice to produce iced candies or cold drinks for children who normally do not like eating vegetables.
 
The malunggay, also termed as moringa, is a vitamin rich vegetable, and contains protein, iron and potassium. It contains anti-oxidants that suppress the activities of free-radicals, which causes cell death.
 
As part of its campaign to combat poverty, malnutrition and other health disorders, the Department of Agriculture (DA) promotes the planting and consumption of moringa. Malunggay can be planted around using seeds and cuttings. The development of malunggay- based products and its commercialization is likewise promoted by DA. ####   
 
 
 
   

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2008, 12:39:12 PM »
December 30, 2007 - 2007 Performance of NFA focused on helping stakeholders and the poor   
The  National  Food  Authority  winded  up its year-end performance  with an assurance  of  better  income  for  rice  farmers  and  a  stable  supply of affordable and quality rice for consumers.
 
NFA  Administrator  Jessup  P.  Navarro  said  the  NFA was able to  provide farmers  higher  profits  from  their  produce  following  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's  directive  to increase the agency's support price  from P10  to  P11 per kilogram for clean and dry palay. The increase took  effect in October this year.
 
On  top  of the support price, individual farmers who sold their  produce to the  agency  also  got  additional P0.25 per kg as incentive for drying  and delivery.  For farmers  cooperatives,  another P0.25 per kg was  granted as Cooperative  Development  Incentive  Fund (CDIF). This translates the  NFA's effective  buying  rate  to P11.25 per kg for individual farmers and  P11.50 for farmer organizations.
 
Also  effective  November 19, the NFA granted an additional P0.50 per  kg of palay  sold  to the  agency as La Niña incentive for individual farmers  and farmer cooperatives during the agency's procurement operations until  March 31,  2008.  The PAGASA projected La Niña to last until the first  quarter of next year.
 
Navarro said the increase in NFA's support price boosted the agency's  palay procurement  especially  during  the latter part of the year. This is  aside from serving as price push mechanism for the farm gate price of palay  which went  up  to  an  average  of  P12.18  per  kilogram  during  the  middle of December.
 
He  also  reported that NFA's monthly rice distribution shows the  consumers preference for government rice as the agency exceeded its rice  distribution target.
 
"As  of  middle  of  December, NFA's rice distribution reached 35.5  million bags or four million bags higher than the 31.5 million-bag target,"  Navarro cited.
 
The  NFA  distributed rice through its 3,709 Bigasan ni Gloria sa  Palengke, 7,918  Tindahan  Natin  rice outlets, 197 Tindahan ni Gloria rolling  stores and  through  its nationwide network of 20,233 accredited and licensed  rice retailers. NFA rice is being sold at P18.25 per kg nationwide.
 
Meanwhile,  through  its  active  involvement  in  the  government's  hunger mitigation  and  poverty  alleviation  program  in  coordination with  other agencies,  the  NFA also helped in uplifting  the economic condition of   the poor.
 
Navarro cited that the Tindahan Natin outlets were specifically  established in   depressed  communities  to  sell  NFA  rice  along  with  other basic commodities  at  affordable prices. "The NFA has already reached 97  percent accomplishment   out  of  8,140  TN  outlets  targeted  to  be established nationwide," he added.
 
Cumulative  rice  sales  at  TN  outlets nationwide has already reached  3.8 million  bags until mid-December amounting to P3.1 billion. The NFA and  the Department of Social Welfare and Development jointly implement the  program.
 
Navarro  also  stressed  that  the NFA has consistently been able to  ensure food  security  and stability of rice supplies and prices in areas  affected by  calamities.   For  this year, the agency has issued a  total of  133,645 bags  of  rice to the various relief agencies and local government  units in regions  affected  by  strong  typhoons  including Chedeng, Dodong,  Hannah, Kabayan, Lando and Mina.
 
"The  NFA  is mandated to  stabilize the prices of basic commodities  during emergencies and must ensure that rice will be available at all times  and at affordable price under whatever circumstances," said Navarro.
 
 In  addition  to  this,  the  NFA  effectively  supports  the   government's nutrition  campaign  by  distributing iron-fortified rice particularly  for the  Food for School Program of the Department of Education for  pre-school and Grade I  students.
 
For  the year, the NFA has delivered a total of 2.5 million bags of  rice to 9,730  public  elementary  schools  nationwide benefiting  2,633,800  school children.
 
Navarro  gave  assurance  that  in the coming years, through the  continuous government  support  and  trust  given  by the people, the NFA  will  always uphold  its  mandate of assuring the country's food security. "The  peoples' interest will be our foremost priority," he stressed.
 
For  more  information on NFA programs, the public may send their  inquiries via   the   Text   NFA   Program   through   mobile   number   0917-6210927. ###
_________________________________________
REFERENCE: DIRECTOR  REX    C. ESTOPEREZ
Public Affairs Department
Tel. No. (0632) 928-0721                                                               
E-mail: rce@nfa.gov.ph /web site: www.nfa.gov.ph 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2008, 12:42:27 PM »
January 17, 2008 - Agro company bullish on honey melon,pushes export of other farm produce   
Agro-commercial company ANI announced it recently developed a new hybrid honey melon variety seen to put the unassuming fruit on staple not only in Filipino homes but even overseas.


The company also expressed optimism it will continue to sustain growth in agricultural exports with the innovations of agricultural technology in the country.

 

ANI, or AgriNurture Inc, an agro-commercial firm, is in the process of expanding to cater to both local and international markets.

 

"We are expanding. The opportunity is boundless. What we need to do is innovate agricultural technology and create marketing opportunities for the Filipino farmers," Tiu said. "It's up to us to take action and cultivate what we have."
 
ANI, formerly Mabuhay 2000, is a top exporter to the world of the much-coveted Philippine Carabao mangoes in terms of volume and market coverage.
 
Its recent acquisition of two distribution companies engaged in the trade of agricultural crops, namely FCA and Fresh and Green, plus its own retail subsidiary, Lucky Fruit and Vegetables Corporation, ANI is poised to gain dominance over the local retail distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables.
 
FCA and Fresh and Green are exclusively distributed in SM Supermarkets and Hypermarkets.
 
"Take honey melon as an example," Tiu said. "It grows well on Philippine soil. It is something that our farmers can easily cultivate, and therefore earn from."
 
According to Tiu, honey melon is a different variety of the cantaloupe that thrives on tropical soil, and is sweeter, more aromatic, and more succulent than other varieties in the market today. In fact, he said, "We just had a successful harvest after the first trial cycle of honey melon last week, and we are happy to have witnessed it with some of our DA officials."

 

"Honey melon is higher-yielding that other local varieties," Tiu said, "and it has qualities that are perfect for export—first, it is resistant to crop disease and infection, and most importantly, it is resilient during transport and packing."
 
Honey melon can be harvested in only 55 days, Tiu said, and farmers can achieve two croppings per year. "The farmer can cultivate other crops in between honey melon harvests," he said.
 
Tiu said that honey melon is a viable revenue-earning crop for Filipino farmers. He added that he is willing to give them support.  "ANI is willing to support the propagation, financing and marketing of the product."

 

"A farmer who has one hectare of land and the necessary farm inputs can earn up to a million pesos a year," he said. "His produce will be bought by ANI at a guaranteed price."
 
ANI's outlook is clear, Tiu said: "We want to show our countrymen the tremendous business potential of the rapidly expanding market both here and abroad for agricultural crops."
 
"The opportunity is so great we don't want to pass it up," Tiu said. (end)

 

-------------------------
Honey Melon Fact Sheet
AgriNurture Incorporated (ANI) inaugurated its honey melon fruit farming pilot project. 
ANI considers this to be a significant milestone for the strategic alliances between the corporation, the Department of Agriculture and the Filipino Farmers.

Produce has distinct aroma and sweetness that local varieties can't match.
Demand is bigger than supply in the local markets.
Local farming for this fruit crop would have to increase to meet expanding global demands
High-yielding for the Filipino Farmers.  Per hectare, can produce 12,000-18,000 plants per hectare, each producing 3-5 fruits every 55 days.  The weight range is from 600g up to 2kg.
Rejects can be processed into melon juice / concentrates.
Department of Agriculture is working out a financing package for the Filipino farmers.  ANI in turn would guarantee the purchase of the harvest.
 

 

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