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BAR-supported Coop in Bicol receives TOFARM award

Labo

The Labo Progressive Multi-purpose Cooperative (LPMPC), based in Labo, Camarines Norte, was recently awarded in the 2012 Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM 2012) for the Agriculture Cooperative category. LPMPC was joined by the other 27 awardees under various categories.

TOFARM, launched by the Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) and Universal Harvester, Inc., is a search and award program anchored on promoting farming in the youth sector of all classes. It gives recognition to the resiliency, ingenuity, and the strength of hardworking Filipino farmers.

Started as a Paluwaganin 1987, LPMPC, which was then, named Labo Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Service Cooperative Inc., started with a lending capital of Php 5,000.

With an initial 15 incorporators composed of market vendors and farmers who sell their produce during market days in the Labo Public Market, the cooperative has now members (regular and associate) under its three branches in the Municipality of Labo, Jose Panganiban, and Capalonga.

In 2002, the cooperative started venturing into agribusiness.

At present, the cooperative is focused on pineapple production and its by-product utilization including pineapple juice, dried pineapple, handwoven piña cloth, handmade paper, and decorticated pineapple fiber. Production of virgin coconut oil is also part of the cooperative’s agribusiness project. These resulted in generating employment and penetrating its products to the local and international markets.

LPMPC extends re-lending services by providing working capital loan for small medium enterprises (SMEs), agricultural loan for farmers and fisherfolk, salary loan and microfinance program for entrepreneurial poor.  It also offers scholarship for members and their families, health and educational loan, life and non- life insurance to members and their immediate families.

The cooperative receives financial and technical supports from local to national government and private partners including foreign nongovernment organization (NGO).

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), through its National Technology Commercialization Program, provided institutional, infrastructural, and technical support to the cooperative under the project titled, “Enhancing Competitiveness of the Queen Pineapple in the Bicol Region”.  This is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit V-Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-RFU V-BIARC). 

Establishing 33 hectares pineapple farms in grow-out farm and by-product utilization, the project involves fruit processing, fiber production, pineapple cloth and other novelties.

LPMPC has completed its accreditation both passing the requirements for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). It is now a certified fruit processing plant upon completing the requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the BAR-funded project, “Pineapple Production and By-Product Utilization”

Prior awards of LPMPC include: Hall of Famer Provincial Most Outstanding Cooperative, Gawad Saka Regional Winner and National Finalist for two years, Land Bank of the Philippines Gawad Pitak Regional Winner and National Finalist, National Nominee for LGU-Cooperative Partnership Award, and the 2009 Most Outstanding One-Town-One-Product Micro, Small, And Medium Enterprises (OTOP MSME) in the province and finalist in the National Outstanding OTOP MSME Award in 2010. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)

Agri chief urges consumers to eat our own fruits

freshly harvested Sapinit fruits

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala urges the consuming public to give preference to fruits produced by the nation’s farmers and orchard operators.

“Our country is blessed with many fruits that compare favorably in taste, nutritional and health benefits with those from other countries,” said the DA chief.

“Our mango, for example, is one of the most highly-valued fruits abroad. We also have pineapple, guava, lanzones, caimito, chico, durian, rambutan, papaya, guyabano, and marang, among others.

"We also have high-quality citrus fruits, like the seedless sweet oranges produced in Nueva Vizcaya and pomelos in Davao," he added. "Also, we have several varieties of melons and watermelons that are available year-round.”

He said most of our tropical fruits are fresher and contain phyto-chemicals and essential nutrients beneficial to one's health. 


Thus, buying Pinoy fruits gives consumers more value for their money, in addition to providing our farmers, orchard owners and their families more income, Secretary Alcala noted.

He urged the country’s legislators and policymakers, health and nutrition practitioners, educators and parents to promote the consumption of our fruits, especially by the youth.

“We should encourage and lead by example, and urge our young people to love Pinoy fruits,” said the DA chief. “We should also teach them to appreciate indigenous fruits like kalumpit, yaniko and sapinit, the so-called ‘Pinoy wild raspberry’.”

Given their unique taste, the country’s indigenous fruits have great potential as export products. Sapinit, for instance, is now being processed into quality juice and jam to offset its short shelf life.

In all, he said consuming and promoting more Philippine fruits will not only promote good health among our people, but also help the farming sector, and further strengthen our nation’s economy.

“Patronizing our farmers’ produce will spur them to higher productivity and profitability, and boost our fruit exports as well for the benefit of our people and country,” Secretary Alcala concluded. ###

Agri grows by 2.92% in 2012

Bannered by the crops, poultry and livestock subsectors, the country’s agriculture industry grew by 2.92 percent (%) in 2012, grossing P1.4 trillion at current prices.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the three subsectors — which accounted for about 82% of total farm output — posted a combined growth of 3.6%. The fisheries subsector, which shared 18% to total production, dipped by 0.04%, mainly due to a 3.9% decline in municipal fish catch.

The crops subsector played a major role, despite the adverse effects of typhoons and floods last year, as palay (paddy rice) and corn posted record harvests of 18.03 million metric tons (MT) and 7.41 million MT, respectively.

Secretary Alcala said the record palay harvest — which was 8.1% more than the 2011 output of 16.68 million MT — was attributed to the 3.4% increase in total area harvested totaling 4.69 million hectares versus 4.54 million hectares in 2011. The 8.1% increase in palay harvest is the highest rate achieved since the year 2000.

He said more farmers were encouraged to plant immediately after the 2012 summer crop so they could harvest by August or September, and thereafter make a ‘Quick-Turn-Around’ (QTA), or plant again on or before September.

“Our efforts are paying off, and we would like to implement similar early planting and QTA schemes and cover more areas this year, and attain our sufficiency target of 20 million MT by end of 2013,” said the DA chief.

Further, the average harvest of palay per hectare increased by 4.3% to 3.84 MT from 3.68 MT in 2011. This was due to innovative schemes introduced by the DA to make high quality seeds accessible and affordable to farmers such as the registered starter seed packs, the community seed banks and the regional seed buffer stocking system.

For example, through the 2-kilogram (kg) registered starter seed packs, about 102,000 farmers and irrigators’ associations received one million kg of registered seeds from September 2011 to September 2012. From the registered seeds, the farmers harvested and produced about 26.5 million kg of certified seeds.

The community seed exchange system that implemented the starter seed scheme gathered 9.7 million kg of certified seeds, which are then made available to farmers who pledged to return 1.5 kg of good seeds to the seed exchange for every kg of seeds they received.

Upon collection, the seed exchange, in turn, distributed 6.5 million kg of seeds to more farmer-users and stored 3.2 million kg in the community seed banks. The balance of 16.7 million kg of certified seeds were traded in the commercial seed market.

From the P1,200-seed subsidy per hectare under previous programs, the starter pack that only cost P80 has made certified seeds available in the countryside not just for one cropping season, but throughout several seasons through the community seed exchange system.

In addition to accessible certified seeds, sufficient supply of water through the expansion of irrigated areas under the national and communal systems and adequate fertilization contributed to the overall increase in palay harvest equivalent to 160 kg or 3.2 cavans (50 kg each) per hectare.

Central Luzon has remained the country’s rice granary, as it produced 3.22 million MT, 23% more than in 2011. The other major palay producers are: Cagayan Valley, with 2.43 million MT; Western Visayas (2.29 million MT); Ilocos (1.74 million MT); Soccsksargen (1.27 million MT); Bicol (1.17 million MT); and Mimaropa (1.03 million MT).

The country’s farmers also harvested a record 7.41 million MT of corn, 6.25% more than the 2011 level of 6.97 million MT. This was mainly due to an increase in harvested area as farmers were encouraged to plant more because of high farmgate prices. Area harvested totaled 2.59 million hectares, 1.9% or 49,213 hectares more than last year’s 2.54 million hectares.

Also, average yield has increased by 4.2% to 2.86 MT per hectare, from 2.74 MT per hectare in 2011. This was due to farmers’ continued use of quality seeds (hybrid and OPV), adequate irrigation, and fertilizer application.

On a regional basis, the country’s major corn producers are Cagayan Valley, with 1.88 million MT, followed by Northern Mindanao (1.23 million MT), Soccsksargen (1.20 million MT), and ARMM (0.76 million MT).

Other crops that performed well last year included tobacco (up by 7%), pineapple (6.7%), coconut (3.8%), and rubber (4%).

The total value of various crops produced in 2012 amounted to P797.7 billion (B) at current prices, led by palay (P292 B), banana (P108 B), corn (P94 B), coconut (P88.6 B), and sugarcane (P42.3 B).

The poultry subsector, which accounted for 14.3% of total farm output, grew by 4.5%, with a gross value of P167.1 B. Chicken and chicken eggs recorded output gains of 4.6% and 4.4%, respectively. Likewise, production of duck and duck eggs has increased by 2% and 5.5%, respectively.

Livestock production inched up by 1.1%, with a gross value of P214.3B. Hog production grew by 1.7%, valued at P174.5B. The livestock subsector shared 16% to total farm output last year.

The fisheries subsector slightly dipped by 0.04% compared to 2011, as municipal fisheries production decreased by 3.9%. However, aquaculture harvest posted a 2.85% growth, while commercial fisheries increased by 0.23%. The fisheries subsector shared 18.2% to total farm output, and grossed P237.2 B at current prices.

The DA through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has addressed the declining fishery production by enforcing timely ‘closed season’ in targeted fishing areas to allow the regeneration of fish species and marine resources.

The DA-BFAR also encourages fishing communities to engage in aquasilviculture and rehabilitation of mangrove areas.

Finally, the average farmgate prices of palay increased to P16.20 per kilo, up by 6.3%, and corn, up by 1% to P12.70 per kilo.

Overall, other farm and fishery products have remained affordable, with the food price index down to 2.2% in 2012 from 5.7% in 2011. ### (DA Press Office)

Native swine production technologies take off

native-swineThe Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), in a bid to promote native swine production technologies, has partnered and conducted with the Bureau of Animal Industry-Native Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (BAI-NSPRDC) and DA-Quezon Agricultural Experiment Station (QAES) a site reconnaissance in preparation for the establishment of technology demonstration sites for native swine production.

In the Philippines, native swine is popularly served as roasted pig or “lechon” during festivities and occasions. With the increasing demand for healthy and nutritious food brought about by the escalating trend of health conscious individuals, native swine is one commodity to fit in.

 

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PhiRARDEP Review and Planning Worskhop held; experts and researchers capacitated on impact assessment

phirardepA year after the establishment of the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Research, Development and Extension Program (PhiRARDEP), an initiative borne by the collaboration of the Philippine Department of Agriculture-High Value Crops Development Program (DA-HVCDP), Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the “Capacity Strengthening, Review and Planning Workshop for PhiRARDEP” was held to convene experts, officials, and agricultural specialists from different regions of the country.

Spearheaded by the BAR and ICRISAT, the national event aimed to evaluate, assess and improve PhiRARDEP in a holistic approach which involves the review of previous efforts done and accomplishments achieved since 2011, capacitating of key players on impact assessment for the further direction of the program, and planning for and drafting of the PhiRARDEP roadmap. “Knowing the vast potential of the rainfed areas to contribute to food security, PhiRARDEP is seen to lay the foundation for establishing a unified national agenda for rainfed agriculture in which the RD&E sector and other concerned stakeholders will be able to significantly contribute by making innovations, generating and developing technologies, and formulating policies appropriate for the rainfed environment. To this end, the strategies, results, and impacts of the PhiRARDEP will be taken into consideration in drawing up the overall DA framework for the achievement of sustainable agricultural growth,” said Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, director of BAR, in his welcome remarks.

 

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