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mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2008, 10:58:21 AM »
April 3, 2008 - Over 1,000 participants expected at National Food Summit   
Over 1,000 representatives from Government and the private sector are expected to attend the National Food Summit tomorrow, which will be held to harmonize all food security initiatives and craft a comprehensive, three-year blueprint for rural development for the remainder of the Arroyo presidency.
 
Secretary Arthur Yap of the Department of Agriculture (DA), which is the lead organizer of the food summit at the Fontana Leisure Park and Casino in Pampanga, said that members of Congress and representatives of government agencies, the DA regional field units and local government units are expected to take part in the summit along with stakeholders from the agriculture and fisheries sector.
 
The DA invited representatives of farmers and fishers organizations, industry and professional associations, sectoral groups like consumers and transport organizations, academe and regional development councils to the summit.
 
President Arroyo will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the summit, where she is expected to unveil a series of fresh initiatives to, among others, cushion on Filipino consumers the impact of the looming global food crunch arising from tightening supplies and escalating prices of rice, corn, wheat and other grains.
 
“We will harness the support and consolidate the inputs of all these sectors with the end in view of unifying our initiatives to guarantee food security and draw up a comprehensive program that will serve as the Arroyo administration’s blueprint for rural development from now till 2010,” Yap said.
 
Yap said that one major objective of this summit is to find ways of better harnessing LGUs and the private sector as effective convergence points for the various national government initiatives concerning food security and job creation.
 
President Arroyo instructed the DA last January to organize the national food summit—or long before the current market distortions in rice hit the country—in sync with her administration’s “Pagkain sa Bawat Mesa, Negosyo sa Sakahan—Laban sa Kahirapan” goals.
 
Last year, Yap already underscored the need to hold such consultations and harness multisectoral support to enable the country to hurdle the then-looming global challenges to its food security, amid contracting supplies and rocketing prices of grains staples like rice, wheat and corn in the world market.
 
The comprehensive program to be drawn up during the summit will buttress the DA’s five-pillar growth agenda that focuses on higher spending on irrigation and rural infrastructure, on postharvest facilities, and on research and development or R&D and extension work; on rural credit facilitation; and on finding more local and foreign markets for Philippine products.
 
The summit will cap the two-month series of sectoral and regional consultations by the DA to win the support of all sectors for Malacañang’s long-term goals of national self-sufficiency in rice, corn and other food crops for the benefit of consumers; finding new markets abroad to boost agricultural exports; and making farming much more profitable, especially for small farmers and fisherfolk.
 
Among the main topics that will be extensively discussed during the summit are the ongoing initiatives being undertaken by the government, in tandem with other sectors, to guarantee the stable flow and adequate stocks of rice, corn and other commodities in the face of tightening supplies and soaring commodity prices in the world market.
 
Yap said that the central areas of concern in the coming summit comprise five commodity clusters, namely, rice, corn, high-value commercial crops or HVCCs, livestock and poultry, and fisheries and aquaculture.


At the same time, Yap urged Congress to act on a pending legislative measure on a national land use policy, which will categorize the use of lands for either agricultural production, human settlements, infrastructure development or as protected areas to help stop the unbridled conversion of prime farmlands into non-agricultural uses.###

 
 
 


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2008, 11:06:54 AM »
Steps taken to solve corn shortage


By Cris Evert Lato
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 11:13:00 04/04/2008


CEBU CITY, Philippines - An official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is calling for a review of the 2008 corn program targets for the different regions under the National Corn Program to find possible sources of funds.

Ricardo Oblena, DA director for Central Visayas, said the possible funds to be generated will be used in buying and distributing white corn seeds which will be planted during off-season.

Off-season is the period when corn land is supposed to be “resting and recovering.” It falls within the months of July to August and January to February.

Grace Len Dagala, DA-7 agricultural communication officer, said planting during off-season will be in corn cluster areas which are located mostly in Cebu and Negros Oriental.

The DA officials made these measures after the price of white corn shot up from P22.50 per kilo in early March to at least P30 per kilo in the market.

The DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, however, said that based on regular price monitoring, a kilo of white corn grain was at P22.50 per kilo on the first week of March but it reached P27.50 per kilo this week.

Dagala said some corn cluster areas, with an average land area of 50 hectares to 100 hectares, are located in Toledo City in western Cebu, and Bayawan City and Mabinay town in Negros Oriental.

She said planting certified seeds and high-yielding open pollinated white corn varieties is one strategy to increase yield of corn.

Corn program coordinators were also ordered to purchase 900 bags of white corn seeds to be planted in Central Visayas this April, said Oblena.

He said the 900 bags of open-pollinated white corn varieties will be planted in 900 hectares of corn land.

Oblena said these are part of the measures the department is taking to address the need for enough white corn supply of Cebu and Negros Oriental, top two corn-eating provinces in the region.

In a separate interview, Dagala said Cebu has the highest corn output among the four provinces in the region with 101, 605 metric tons of white corn.

Its population of more than four million however consumes a total of 197,472 metric tons or close to 198 million kilos of corn in 2007, said Dagala.

Negros Oriental, on the other hand, consumed 96,539 metric tons or more than 96 million kilos of corn.

Last year, Central Visayas produced a total of 199,420 metric tons or close to 200 million kilos of white corn.

Around 250 units of corn shellers, machines used to remove corn husks, will also be distributed by DA to farmers' associations.

“This, to minimize the losses that corn growers might incur during harvest and to increase quality of grain recovery,” DA-7 in a statement said.
 

 


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2008, 10:50:17 AM »
Hog raisers in WV join ‘Pork-in-a-Box’ project
PHILIPPINES - A Pork-in-Box scheme is helping pig farmers in Western Visayas boost returns from markets in Metro Manila. They can now ship carcases from the Passi City abattoir safely to Pontevedra Meat Cutting Facility in Capiz for processing. .


The Department of Agriculture scheme enables the meant to be cut and then stored and chilled in a modern blast freezing and packing equipment. It is then transported by vans via roll on-roll off or nautical highway to selling points across Metro Manila.

The scheme is aimed at reducing the risk and incidence of animal diseases because it minimises the transport and shipment of live animals.

The "Pork-in-a-Box" program was relaunched by the DA last year to improve accessibility of safe and hygienic pork products. The scheme is new to Panay and is already proving a success.

OIC-Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales said meat products sold under the Pork-in-a-box project are cheaper by P5 to P10 per kilo than the prevailing prices in regular retail outlets.

Hog growers in Panay have committed to deliver 15 tons of pork per week under the project, he said.

National Federation of Hog Farmers President, Albert Lim says that hog farmers support the program. It allows them to take part in the supply chain and provide the consumers easy access to quality pork cuts at a lower price.



mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2008, 10:56:47 AM »
Use Political Funds to Push Food Program
MANILA - Politician Prospero Nograles says congressmen would do well to use their Countrywide Development Funds or 'pork barrel' to support food production projects and help prevent a food supply crisis.


Speaking to the House committee on agriculture yesterday, he said that politicians could help avert the looming scenario of a food crisis and at the same time bring down the prices of commodities which are really getting out of control.

According to the Manila Standard, each congressman is entitled to P70 million worth of pork barrel, which usually goes to public works projects such as roads and bridges. Senators have bigger pork barrel allocations at P200 million each.

Nograles also urged the Agriculture Department to come up with a list of specific target areas, which can be developed into special zones for food production.

Congressmen who own agricultural lands should make sure that their districts don’t run out of food supply, Nograles said.

Nograles’ proposal was backed by Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra, chairman of the House committee on agriculture, who said that the Agriculture Department can also release counterpart funds to support food production programs in these target areas.


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2008, 06:36:23 AM »
Metro
DA, mayors to supply NFA rice to poor
By Marianne Go
Sunday, April 13, 2008
By next week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority will start directly distributing  between 15,000 to 20,000 bags of NFA rice a day to poor families with less than P152 a day to spend for food.

DA Secretary Arthur Yap said he has reached an agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the League of Mayors to help the NFA intensify the distribution of government-subsidized rice in the country’s 12 highly populated areas.

Yap said the areas where he has ordered the NFA to increase the distribution of government-subsidized rice sold at P18.25 per kilo are Metro Manila, Baguio City, Lucena City, Legaspi City, Albay, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Cebu City, Dumaguete City, Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga City and General Santos City.

He directed the NFA to closely coordinate with the DSWD, local government units (LGUs) and faith-based communities to ensure that the poorest of the poor will be the first to buy NFA rice.

“We will intensify the distribution of NFA rice in these 12 areas to help ensure that cheap rice reaches the widest swath of the population where poor families reside,” Yap said. 

Yap told The STAR that the DA, NFA, DSWD and local governments are still trying to “clean up” their respective lists to ensure that only families with less than P152 to spend for food would be the targeted beneficiaries.

He clarified that the NFA rice would be sold to the targeted families at P18.25 per kilo and that there would be no dole-outs or free rice.

The DA-NFA is intensifying its distribution of rice to stabilize the prices of the food staple and make affordable rice available to low-income consumers.

Yap’s decision to work with local governments, however, is being criticized by the Rice Watch and Action Network (R1), which is urging the DA and NFA to work only with the DSWD.

In an interview, R1 lead convenor Jessica Cantos-Reyes said coursing the distribution of NFA rice through LGUs may again lead to diversions. However, Yap came to the defense of the LGUs, arguing that “R1 should not prejudge the LGU’s ability to distribute food.”

“They have the list and the capability, along with the DSWD,” he said. “We are therefore just cleaning up our individual lists to avoid duplication.”

NFA administrator Jessup Navarro said the agency will begin increasing the distribution of government-subsidized rice in these 12 areas next week.

Yap said the DA is drawing up a food production masterplan with experts from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) along with the Eminent Persons Group, which will help oversee the implementation of Malacañang’s P43.7-billion package of intervention measures for Philippine agriculture.

“We are working on a masterplan for sustained agricultural growth from now till 2010. Philippine agriculture is not all rice, we have other sectors to protect,” Yap said.

“We are taking the opportunity as well to look at the other sub-sectors of agriculture,” he added.

Yap said that among the measures that the DA is studying is the expansion of the subsidy program for seeds and fertilizers and the involvement of LGUs in rice production, particularly in the country’s 37 biggest rice-growing provinces.

He said these were among the recommendations made by the Eminent Persons Group during a meeting last Monday to discuss ways on how to efficiently implement Malacañang’s heightened commitment to guarantee food security.




mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2008, 06:40:23 AM »
RP seeks cheap US rice
By Jose Katigbak The STAR Washington Bureau
Sunday, April 13, 2008
WASHINGTON – Officials of the Philippine government’s National Food Authority (NFA) and suppliers are here haggling over the importation of 100,000 metric tons of rice to Manila.

The NFA is using $75 million in credit guarantees from a US Department of Agriculture program, which promotes sales of US farm goods to developing countries by assuring lenders they will get paid even if a borrower defaults.

NFA officials are in discussion with several US rice traders, hoping to secure the best rates.

The negotiations between Philippine food officials and major American rice suppliers are being made amid worldwide concerns over food security issues which continue to drive up prices of the staple, the USDA said.

In its April circular on “Grain: World Markets and Trade,” the USDA said some major suppliers have banned or restricted exports in order to protect domestic supplies, placing additional upward pressure on prices.

The cutback in exportable supplies resulted in record rice prices, as indicated by Thailand and the US, the report said.

The USDA has increased the credit guarantee to the Philippines by $10 million in March to help it stave off a looming rice shortage.

In a broad review of the international rice situation, the USDA said Vietnam, the world’s second-largest supplier, has re-imposed a ban on exports that could cut shipments by at least 20 percent.

This would result in a million tons less than the previous year at 4.5 million metric tons.

China, on the other hand, placed a tax and quota system on exports while Egypt banned exports from April 1 to October this year to help stabilize high domestic prices, which have nearly doubled in recent months, it said.

India recently imposed an export ban on non-basmati rice to replace its minimum export price, which has more than doubled to $1,000 per metric ton since October 2007.

Although Thailand is not presently limiting or restricting exports, it is faced with tightening domestic supplies and record prices.

Thailand is reportedly planning to release its own stocks into the domestic market to help lower prices caused by the threat of falling domestic supply which has been fueled by strong export sales, the report said.

As for the US, its ending stocks are forecast at a 27-year low, but there could be additional foreign demand for US rice.

The weakening dollar makes US commodities more competitive in the world market and constrained shipments from traditional suppliers could cause importers to increase purchases from the United States.

In Manila, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap urged Asian governments to hold talks on the sharply escalating cost of food.

Yap proposed a ministerial-level meeting of Asian governments to discuss means to raise food production and provide interim food aid.

“We must address the plight of food-poor families in the countries most affected by the rice price crisis,” Yap told the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) during a recent meeting.

Sen. Manuel Roxas II also called on the government to take the initiative in calling for a food summit among member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with China, Japan and South Korea.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, made the call as he noted the statement of the IRRI warning that the global rice crisis is not expected to diminish until 2010 and may take from five to 10 years to finally settle down.

Roxas said he would file a resolution tomorrow expressing the sense of the Senate that the Philippines should take the lead in calling for such a special leaders’ summit to ensure food and rice security in the coming months.

Roxas said the Philippines could invoke a provision in the ASEAN Charter on summits that allows its leaders to hold a meeting to “address emergency situations affecting ASEAN by taking appropriate actions.”

IRRI, the world’s premier rice research institute, held an emergency meeting at its headquarters in Laguna to discuss ways of easing rising rice prices that have swept the region and caused unrest in some countries.

IRRI had warned that rice prices were likely to keep rising for some time as production fails to keep up with soaring demand.

Turned down

The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest rice importers, has been struggling to procure enough rice for its 90 million people.

The country’s rice farms are mainly small plots and cannot meet domestic food needs.

Producers warned Friday that bread, noodles and processed meat prices are likely to follow rice prices in coming weeks as Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said China had turned down Manila’s request to buy wheat.

“This would force the Philippine government to buy more expensive wheat from the United States,” Favila said.

“I am saddened that China did not grant our request and I have already received official communication to that effect. They did not give any reason. They just said the demand in China is also large,” he said.

Kevin Cleaver from the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development met with President Arroyo earlier Friday to discuss the implications of the food crisis on the Philippines.

Cleaver said, “In some 33 countries there is now civil disturbance, food riots caused by food shortages and higher prices. This is one of the subjects we discussed.”

He said people were suffering because the “price of rice and food has increased and we discussed a little bit what to do about that,” adding he and Mrs. Arroyo agreed that a solution was to ramp up production.

The President has pledged to make rice supplies available to every Filipino, drafting the military to distribute supplies and crack down on hoarders.

The President said the government had a plan for better irrigation facilities, according to Cleaver. That would help in the coming year but the shorter-term problem was more difficult to cure, he said.

Cleaver added that the world was taken by surprise because “most people have been complacent,” but governments could take steps to deal with the crisis.

Political issue

Malacañang admitted that the problems faced over the price and supply of rice are real amid claims by the political opposition that the situation is artificial and meant to divert attention from controversies hounding the administration.

While the government is faced with the challenge of maintaining the supply of subsidized rice from the NFA, deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said all efforts are being exerted to keep the prices of rice and other basic commodities stable.

Golez did admit that an artificial crisis could take place if the traders engage in hoarding and other illegal activities aimed at taking advantage of the current delicate situation on rice.

He said the supply of NFA rice has been affected by an unusual increase in demand.

Because of the increase in the prices of commercial rice in the market, Golez said the middle class has also shifted to cheaper NFA rice.

With the quality of some varieties of NFA rice now at par with the commercial rice varieties, Golez said the shift was a natural move on the part of some consumers.

The entry of middle class consumers into the NFA rice market has resulted in a decline in supply for the low-income and poor sector that is the intended market of the subsidized rice, Golez said.

“So the supply that is for the poor is also going to other people who want to save money,” he said.

Presidential Management Staff chief Cerge Remonde, for his part, called for a “ceasefire” with the political opposition amid the problem of food price increases.

Remonde urged the opposition to work in finding solutions to the rice problem.

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson, however, said Malacañang’s appeal for a political ceasefire amid the rice problem should not be allowed.

Lacson said any political ceasefire would allow the administration to get away with corruption.

Lacson said he is willing to work hand in hand with Malacañang, provided that it would stop its “shameless lying, stealing and cheating.”

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, on the other hand, said the current situation cannot be denied by any sector, including the opposition.

Just like every issue raised by the opposition against the administration, Gonzalez said the claim of an artificial rice crisis is to be expected.

“But what is important is the basic truth which is facing the country today. I don’t think anybody can deny the fact that this is a worldwide crisis,” he said.

Gonzalez said the food crisis can always be caused by unscrupulous traders which the government is trying to prevent. - With Marvin Sy, Aurea Calica




mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2008, 06:55:13 AM »
Gov't lifts restrictions on meat imports from US, Canada


By Amy R. Remo
Inquirer



The Department of Agriculture (DA) has removed import restrictions on all meat imports from the United States and Canada.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap amended an order issued in July that imposed conditions on importation of meat from these countries, such as the following:

• Bone-in beef imports from these countries should come only from cattle of less than 30 months of age.

• Beef, whether boneless or bone-in. should be devoid of specified risk materials.

• Beef, whether boneless or bone-in, should come only from healthy ambulatory and now downer cattle.

• The age of the slaughtered cattle should be certified by the US Department of Agriculture or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

• The production date or slaughter date of the beef should be included in the packaging label.

The DA had imposed these restrictions to prevent the entry of mad cow disease into the country. The Office Internationale des Epizooties or Animal Health Organization earlier declared the United States and Canada as countries with “controlled BSE risks.”

With the lifting of the restrictions, the Philippines can now provide full market access to American and Canadian meat suppliers.

Earlier, Yap also temporarily banned imports of domestic and wild birds along with poultry products from Virginia and Nebraska, following official confirmation by US authorities of the presence of the bird flu virus in those areas.

He said the ban and other emergency measures were necessary to protect human health and the poultry industry in the Philippines, which has remained free of bird flu ever since the H5N1 strain of this virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003.

The DA has also imposed a similar ban on all live bird and poultry imports from Togo, Korea and the United Kingdom after the presence of the bird flu virus had been detected in these countries.
 



 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2008, 09:30:54 AM »
DA sets 5.3-M ton target for fisheries in 2008     
Thursday, 10 January 2008 
Press Release

The Department of Agriculture (DA) expects the fisheries sector to continue being the primary growth driver for Philippine agriculture this year, with production targets set at almost 5.34 million metric tons (MT), or a hefty 10% hike from the 2006 yield.

In a report to Secretary Arthur Yap, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Malcolm Sarmiento said that of this 5.339 million MT target, some 2.701 million MT will come from the aquaculture sector, another 1.157 million MT from commercial fisheries, and 1.48 million MT more from municipal fishing.

Sarmiento said this would represent a 10% hike from the 4.85 million MT of fisheries production in 2006.

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao; the Mimaropa region of Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan; the Zamboanga Peninsula; the CALABARZON provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon; and Western Visayas are expected to fuel the growth of the fisheries sector this year, Sarmiento said.

Yap pointed out that the fisheries sector was consistently the biggest gainer in terms of growth so far in the first three quarters of 2007, with its expansion increasing an impressive 7.92% in the July-September period alone.

Fourth quarter production for 2007 is estimated to reach 1.428 million MT or a surplus of 773,000 MT, he said.

Yap said the establishment of environment-friendly systems such as mariculture parks; expansion of seaweed farming; farming of high-value species such as abalone, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, and P. vannamei or Pacific white shrimp; more aggressive enforcement of anti-poaching and illegal fishing and sustained resource conservation efforts, will help sustain the growth of the fisheries sector in 2008.

To date, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has listed the Philippines as No. 8 from its previous ranking of No. 11 among the top fish-producing countries in the world.

Tuna is the country’s top export product shipped in many parts of the world including the USA, Japan, China and the European Union.

Similarly, the country is currently the world’s 2nd largest producer of seaweeds, with production reaching 1.39 million MT or 11.6% of the total world production of 12 million MT.

To help seal the growth of the fisheries sector this year, the DA is sending a BFAR-led team to negotiate and renew an agreement in Jakarta that will grant Philippine fishing vessels continued access to Indonesia’s rich fishing grounds.

This team, to be headed by Sarmiento, hopes to renew a fishing arrangement that has enabled Filipino vessels to fish for tuna in the 200-mile Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

A new fishing arrangement between Manila and Jakarta allowing the Philippines to continue using part of the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) in the Sulawesi Sea portion of Indonesia’s waters is necessary to sustain the local fishing industry and allow the harvest of 80,000 to 100,000 MT more of tuna yearly.

An arrangement between the DA and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia on the Philippines’ use of a portion of the TAC in the 200-mile Indonesian EEZ was signed in January 2002 with a validity of three years.  It expired in 2005 and was renewed for another year.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Indonesia exercises sovereign rights over its EEZ and its archipelagic and territorial waters.

However, an existing agreement on fisheries cooperation signed between Manila and Jakarta in November 2001 and renewed in February 2006 paved the way for the Philippines’ access to Indonesia’s fishing grounds.

Sarmiento said Philippine fishing vessels are allowed access to certain portions of Indonesia’s EEZ provided that Jakarta gets a share of the fish catch in these waters. ###
 
   

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2008, 09:34:45 AM »
February 18, 2008 - D.A. to help farmers, fisherfolk ‘cruise’ info superhighway   
The Department of Agriculture is speeding up the implementation of an ambitious program to let small farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness entrepreneurs cruise the Infobahn by tapping into a DA-run electronic database system for information on new technologies to help them boost yields, optimize profits and eventually engage in online trading or marketing of their produce.
 
In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said this project—Comprehensive Agriculture and Fisheries Integrated Management System (CAFIAMS)—initially aims to inform small farm producers on cutting-edge technologies to increase harvests and prune their produce.
 
“This is actually a farm-to-fork knowledge-based system,” reported BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar during the latest Management Committee (ManCom) meeting of the DA at its central office in Quezon City.
 
Eleazar reported to Yap that with the CAFIAMS in place, farmers and fisherfolk can gain access to a knowledge system that would provide them timely information, technical assistance and other relevant data on how they could produce more and earn more from their goods.
 
Through the CAFIAMS, he said that farm producers could later on electronically tie up with fellow growers in other parts of the country to synchronize planting, harvesting and delivery schedules to help them command the best possible prices for their products and ensure the steady supply of food staples.
 
Eleazar noted that the system could also help farmers and fisherfolk synchronize support services—from land preparation to harvesting—and let them gain access to available credit facilities,
 
The project would eventually include marketing services, allowing farmers and fisherfolk to obtain via the Internet all relevant data on suppliers, buyers and price updates of prime commodities, as well as provisions for online trading.
 
Among the components of this project are the e-learning system, which  offers online training courses on various agriculture and fisheries technologies; the e-Pinoy Farms, which provides rural-based cooperatives and groups with technical assistance and advisory services; and e-trading, which focuses on facilitating trade for small agricultural cooperatives.   
 
Yap said that said besides BAR, the project will also involve the Agricultural Training Institute, the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), DA Agribusiness Center, agricultural cooperatives and local government units (LGUs).
 
He added that LGUs and rural cooperatives would help build, maintain and update the CAFIAMS database by providing the latest relevant information on agriculture and fisheries in their respective localities.
 
It is currently benefiting some 2,515 onion farmers tilling 2,132 hectares of land nationwide and will soon be expanded to cover the fisheries sector. ###   
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
February 18, 2008 - D.A. to help farmers, fisherfolk ‘cruise’ info superhighway   
The Department of Agriculture is speeding up the implementation of an ambitious program to let small farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness entrepreneurs cruise the Infobahn by tapping into a DA-run electronic database system for information on new technologies to help them boost yields, optimize profits and eventually engage in online trading or marketing of their produce.
 
In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said this project—Comprehensive Agriculture and Fisheries Integrated Management System (CAFIAMS)—initially aims to inform small farm producers on cutting-edge technologies to increase harvests and prune their produce.
 
“This is actually a farm-to-fork knowledge-based system,” reported BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar during the latest Management Committee (ManCom) meeting of the DA at its central office in Quezon City.
 
Eleazar reported to Yap that with the CAFIAMS in place, farmers and fisherfolk can gain access to a knowledge system that would provide them timely information, technical assistance and other relevant data on how they could produce more and earn more from their goods.
 
Through the CAFIAMS, he said that farm producers could later on electronically tie up with fellow growers in other parts of the country to synchronize planting, harvesting and delivery schedules to help them command the best possible prices for their products and ensure the steady supply of food staples.
 
Eleazar noted that the system could also help farmers and fisherfolk synchronize support services—from land preparation to harvesting—and let them gain access to available credit facilities,
 
The project would eventually include marketing services, allowing farmers and fisherfolk to obtain via the Internet all relevant data on suppliers, buyers and price updates of prime commodities, as well as provisions for online trading.
 
Among the components of this project are the e-learning system, which  offers online training courses on various agriculture and fisheries technologies; the e-Pinoy Farms, which provides rural-based cooperatives and groups with technical assistance and advisory services; and e-trading, which focuses on facilitating trade for small agricultural cooperatives.   
 
Yap said that said besides BAR, the project will also involve the Agricultural Training Institute, the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), DA Agribusiness Center, agricultural cooperatives and local government units (LGUs).
 
He added that LGUs and rural cooperatives would help build, maintain and update the CAFIAMS database by providing the latest relevant information on agriculture and fisheries in their respective localities.
 
It is currently benefiting some 2,515 onion farmers tilling 2,132 hectares of land nationwide and will soon be expanded to cover the fisheries sector. ###   
 
 February 18, 2008 - D.A. to help farmers, fisherfolk ‘cruise’ info superhighway   
The Department of Agriculture is speeding up the implementation of an ambitious program to let small farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness entrepreneurs cruise the Infobahn by tapping into a DA-run electronic database system for information on new technologies to help them boost yields, optimize profits and eventually engage in online trading or marketing of their produce.
 
In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) said this project—Comprehensive Agriculture and Fisheries Integrated Management System (CAFIAMS)—initially aims to inform small farm producers on cutting-edge technologies to increase harvests and prune their produce.
 
“This is actually a farm-to-fork knowledge-based system,” reported BAR director Nicomedes Eleazar during the latest Management Committee (ManCom) meeting of the DA at its central office in Quezon City.
 
Eleazar reported to Yap that with the CAFIAMS in place, farmers and fisherfolk can gain access to a knowledge system that would provide them timely information, technical assistance and other relevant data on how they could produce more and earn more from their goods.
 
Through the CAFIAMS, he said that farm producers could later on electronically tie up with fellow growers in other parts of the country to synchronize planting, harvesting and delivery schedules to help them command the best possible prices for their products and ensure the steady supply of food staples.
 
Eleazar noted that the system could also help farmers and fisherfolk synchronize support services—from land preparation to harvesting—and let them gain access to available credit facilities,
 
The project would eventually include marketing services, allowing farmers and fisherfolk to obtain via the Internet all relevant data on suppliers, buyers and price updates of prime commodities, as well as provisions for online trading.
 
Among the components of this project are the e-learning system, which  offers online training courses on various agriculture and fisheries technologies; the e-Pinoy Farms, which provides rural-based cooperatives and groups with technical assistance and advisory services; and e-trading, which focuses on facilitating trade for small agricultural cooperatives.   
 
Yap said that said besides BAR, the project will also involve the Agricultural Training Institute, the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), DA Agribusiness Center, agricultural cooperatives and local government units (LGUs).
 
He added that LGUs and rural cooperatives would help build, maintain and update the CAFIAMS database by providing the latest relevant information on agriculture and fisheries in their respective localities.
 
It is currently benefiting some 2,515 onion farmers tilling 2,132 hectares of land nationwide and will soon be expanded to cover the fisheries sector. ###   
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2008, 09:41:09 AM »

DA positions for commercial planting of malunggay

BIOLIFE NEWS SERVICE 4137293 /3728560
MEDIA RELEASE

DA positions for commercial planting of malunggay

Naga City—From being a lowly vegetable in our backyards, moringa oleifera, popularly known as “malunggay” is now making its golden comeback thru the wonders of biotechnology.

With the ardent desire to propel this vision into reality, the Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal Foundation (CCMF), in cooperation with the Kalunggay Farmers of Camarines Sur (KFCS) formally launched their partnership with SECURA International at the Madrigal Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Ateneo de Naga University on December 11, 2007.
Director Alice Ilaga, Director of the Biotechnology Program Office of the Department of Agriculture said that “malunggay” is a vegetable with exceptional qualities and uses that are still unknown to many.

Rediscovering other useful aspects of malunggay, she said, would open opportunities and business prospects. This in turn, she added, could be one of the best routes out of poverty that is crippling our society.
According to Ilaga, the Department of Agriculture is now strategically positioning itself for the commercial planting of malunggay seeds for malunggay oil production. They are also building linkages with various national government agencies, particularly with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to study the development package technology using the Nicaraguan experience as a model.

Based on research, malunggay is considered as one of the most nutritious vegetables. It has twice the calcium found in milk, possesses three times the potassium found in bananas and contains ¾ of the iron found in spinach.
Malunggay’s leaves, flowers and pods are used as cooking ingredients. The oil extracted from its leaves is far superior to olive oil. It also serves as a less costly and readily available alternative natural medicine for common illnesses.
Malunggay can also be used to make other foods more nutritious by simply processing the its fresh leaves into powder and adding them to soups, sauces, breads, biscuits and practically in every food that we serve on the table.

The seeds can be used as source of edible oil, medicine, cosmetic ingredient, lubricant ,and as biofuel. The malunggay cake or “sapal” can still be used as biofertilizer , animal food ingredient and can also be used in water treatment.

The signing of the Purchase Agreement between KFCS represented by its President, former Naga City Councilor Julian Lavadia and SECURA International thru its President, Mr. Danny Manayaga sealed the partnership that wound bind the two parties in mass-producing the power veggie into a viable commodity.

Aside from Director Ilaga, the signing was also witnessed by Provincial Director Edna Tejada of the Department of Trade and Industry, Consuelo Chito Madrigal Foundation Executive Officer Fr. Wilmer Tria , Ms. Dolores Velasco, former World Bank Consultant, Ateneo de Naga President Rev. Fr. Joel E.Tabora, SJ and representatives from various government and private sectors. (biolife news service)



mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2008, 09:46:04 AM »
PHILIPPINES INKS BIOFUELS DEAL WITH PRAJ INDUSTRIES OF INDIA
; Posted: 06:32 AM 7 Stocks You Need To Know For Tomorrow -- Free Newsletter
NEW DELHI,

-- The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday sealed a biofuels agreement with an India-based energy company.

In an interview aboard chartered Philippine Airlines flight from Mumbai to New Delhi, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Philippines and PRAJ Industries (BSE:522205) of India is aimed to help develop the country's biofuels industry.

Yap said this is through the propagation of new farming technologies and investments in the planting of sweet sorghum and other crops such as cassava and sugarcane to be used as feedstock and in the production of bio-ethanol.

Under the MOA, the DA and PRAJ Industries Limited, a company that develops technologies and equipment for biofuels production, have agreed to team up "for feedstock development and setting up of bio-fuel production plants" in the Philippines.

The DA, through the Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation (PADCC), has committed to promote the country's fast-growing biofuels sector by way of generating awareness on the use of agricultural feed stocks used for ethanol and biodiesel production.

Under the MOA, PRAJ will provide assistance and extend its knowledge in identifying varieties of sweet sorghum and jatropha for cultivation trials.

"PRAJ will also provide the design, engineering and supply the bio-fuel production plants to potential investors in the bio-fuel sector based on mutually agreed terms and conditions on a case-to-case basis," Yap said.

For his part, he said, the DA will identify land for feedstock development; encourage and assist farmers in cultivating sweet sorghum, sugarcane, cassava or jatropha for the production of alternative clean energy; and help in attracting investments for commercial scale feedstock production and construction of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol plants.

Top officials of PRAJ Industries paid a courtesy call to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was on a state visit to India.

She was pleased to learn that by March 2008, PRAJ Industries will be producing bio-ethanol fuel in Ormoc.

Yap said PRAJ will be "propagating sweet sorghum technology to our farmers."

Aside from sweet sorghum, he said, the Indian firm would like to develop bio-ethanol fuel from sugarcane and cassava.

Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat signed the MOA on behalf of the DA, while Shashank Inamdar, managing director and CEO of PRAJ, signed on behalf of the company.

PRAJ is a publicly listed company in the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India. It has provided distillery and brewery wastewater treatment and utilization solutions to over 35 countries worldwide.

The company now has diversified its range of solutions such as in fermentation systems that include technology packages for multiple feedstock including cane-molasses, cane juice and filtrate, starch-based raw materials like corn, sorghum, wheat, tapioca, tropical sugar-beet, among others.

Last January, President Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act, which aims to ease the country's imports on petroleum products, which are dollar-draining and pollution-generating.

Yap expects the ever-growing global demand for crops-based alternative clean fuels to energize Philippine farms, increase the profitability of small stakeholders in the agriculture sector, and reduce the countrys dependence on imported energy sources.

The DA is now in the process of identifying for private sector investments more than 400,000 hectares of land to plant crops that would be used as feedstock and for biofuels production.

Of these, about 90,000 hectares are located in the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle; 10,000 hectares in Central Philippines; and 300,000 in Agribusiness Mindanao.

The lands being processed so far already represent 78 per cent of the 600,000 hectares targeted for development this year.

These lands would be planted to cassava, oil palm, coconut, sugarcane, jatropha, and other crops used as feedstock for projects that would be set up by private investors cashing in on the biofuels boom in the global market.

Investors are planning to set up plants in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern and Central Mindanao, and the Davao region either through straight purchases, lease arrangements, contract growing or joint ventures.

In all these arrangements, farmers stand to earn more through profit sharing, guaranteed income packages or straight purchases of harvested crops, and benefit from new planting technologies that would create more jobs and boost production.

(PNA)


mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2008, 08:15:56 AM »

 
 Page last updated at 09:51 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 10:51 UK
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Action to meet Asian rice crisis 
 
The Philippines wants to reduce its reliance on rice imports

The authorities in China and the Philippines have vowed to take fresh action to tackle the escalating cost of staple foods, particularly rice.

Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao said food inflation was the country's most "prominent" economic problem and urged efforts to boost grain output.

Food prices in China have risen more than 20% so far this year.

Manila, meanwhile, has banned all future conversion of farmland for uses other than agricultural production.

Social unrest

There have been warnings of dire economic consequences for developing countries across Asia and increased social unrest in wealthier nations should food prices continue to rise at their current rate.

The wholesale price of rice, a staple product for more than 2.5 billion people across the continent, has more than doubled in the past three months, while global supplies have fallen to a thirty-year low.

Against this backdrop, the UN's World Food Programme has said it will cost an extra $160m (£81m) a year to feed Asia's poorest people.

Reacting to the spiral in food prices, the Chinese Premier acknowledged that food costs were "high" and said controlling prices should be a priority for the government.

 
As rice prices rise, the queues for the staple food lengthen


However, he announced no specific measures to increase farm output, instead reminding administrative regions of the need to follow government directives on the economy.

The Philippine government, on the other hand, is acting to protect farmland by indefinitely ring-fencing it for agricultural use.

Agriculture Secretary Nasser Pangandaman said the move would stop the "unabated" transformation of farmland into residential property developments.

The Philippines is struggling to grow enough rice to provide for its 90 million strong population and is heavily reliant on exports from Thailand and Vietnam.

Ministers recently pledged to spend $1bn to become self-sufficient in rice by 2010.



 
 

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2008, 10:17:45 AM »
DA assures crackdown limited only to hoarders, profiteers
04/27/2008 | 11:13 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has assured rice millers and grains traders that the current government crackdown will be limited only to wholesalers and retailers engaged in hoarding, profiteering and other illicit trade practices.

Yap made the assurance following a dialogue with the officers and members of the Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations (Philcongrains) led by their president, Joji Co, at the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM).

Also during the dialogue, rice millers and grains traders all over Luzon pledged to help the government to stabilize the domestic supply and prices of the staple food even during the traditional lean months of July to September as a way to prevent retail costs from spiraling beyond the reach of ordinary consumers.

NFA Administrator Jessup Navarro and lawyer Dante Pua, representing the Anti-Hoarding Task Force of the National Bureau of Investigation, were also present during the three-hour dialogue, which was attended by 60 Philcongrains members from Northern, Central and Southern Luzon, and Bicol.

Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco and Abono party-list Rep. Robert Estrella accompanied the grains businessmen to the DA in a bid to come up with a pricing mechanism to keep rice accessible and affordable to ordinary consumers.

Yap said the grains traders have committed to inform the DA the volume of rice stocks currently in their possession and which they are to unload in the market even during the lean months. - GMANews.TV

mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2008, 10:21:36 AM »
Arroyo may revamp state's rice buying-WSJ
Reuters

President Arroyo is considering rolling back her government's direct role in subsidizing expensive rice imports, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mrs. Arroyo said that if rice prices stayed high the role of the debt-laden National Food Authority, the state's grain importing arm, might eventually be changed to allow the private sector to import more rice.

"Our first obligation right now is to put food on the table and the NFA has a role to play in that," Mrs. Arroyo was quoted as saying.

"But in the longer term, with prices being where they are now and if they continue to stay where they are, then it would be good economics to look at producing more of it ourselves."

Mrs. Arroyo said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was looking at ways of enabling the NFA to buy rice from international markets without going through public bidding procedures.

That would enable the Philippines, the world's top rice importer, to top up its stocks without signaling to the rest of the world how much it needs and therefore boosting the price.

Rice supply has become a major political issue in the Philippines, where Mrs. Arroyo fears hungry voters could take to the streets if shortages developed.

Manila's recent flurry of rice tenders ahead of a traditional lean period in the third quarter has helped propel rice prices to record highs, pushing the NFA, which sells much of the imports at a subsidized rate at home, further into debt.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said last week that NFA debts could exceed $1 billion this year from around $62 million last year.



mikey

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Re: D.A. News Updates:
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2008, 10:29:02 AM »
Arroyo may revamp state's rice buying-WSJ
Reuters

President Arroyo is considering rolling back her government's direct role in subsidizing expensive rice imports, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

In an interview with the newspaper, Mrs. Arroyo said that if rice prices stayed high the role of the debt-laden National Food Authority, the state's grain importing arm, might eventually be changed to allow the private sector to import more rice.

"Our first obligation right now is to put food on the table and the NFA has a role to play in that," Mrs. Arroyo was quoted as saying.

"But in the longer term, with prices being where they are now and if they continue to stay where they are, then it would be good economics to look at producing more of it ourselves."

Mrs. Arroyo said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was looking at ways of enabling the NFA to buy rice from international markets without going through public bidding procedures.

That would enable the Philippines, the world's top rice importer, to top up its stocks without signaling to the rest of the world how much it needs and therefore boosting the price.

Rice supply has become a major political issue in the Philippines, where Mrs. Arroyo fears hungry voters could take to the streets if shortages developed.

Manila's recent flurry of rice tenders ahead of a traditional lean period in the third quarter has helped propel rice prices to record highs, pushing the NFA, which sells much of the imports at a subsidized rate at home, further into debt.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said last week that NFA debts could exceed $1 billion this year from around $62 million last year.



 

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