Category Archives: agriculture

Rivera says Region 12 to get P792 from DA

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Region 12 will get P792 for various projects from the Department of Agriculture in the next 2 years.

Rivera attended the 5th SOCKSARGEN Area Development Plan (ADP) held at the Seda Hotel in Davao City on December 8.

“I am excited for these projects. We can start on making Gensan a progressive city that has a sustainable economy and enough support facilities for the entry of new investments,” Mayor Rivera said.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera meets up other local executives of Region 12 and other government agency officials in the 5th SOCSKSARGEN Area Development Plan meeting Monday, December 8 in Davao City.Photo courtesy of CPIO
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera meets up other local executives of Region 12 and other government agency officials in the 5th SOCSKSARGEN Area Development Plan meeting Monday, December 8 in Davao City.Photo courtesy of CPIO

The agriculture department said it is allotting P303 million for the Food Security Program (FSP) in Region 12 for 2015 to include a Double A abattoir in General Santo City.

Region 12 or Soccsksargen is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan, Cotabato General Santos.

For 2016, the tentative budget for the Region 12 is P489 million which will fund the construction of 23 more farm-to-market roads for a 45.63 kilometer in total, three rice and corn mills, and a Project Management Unit.

Out of the 45.63-km new road network, 8.35 kilometers of farm to market road has already been earmarked for General Santos City.

Rivera said he already pledged to provide the needed 15% local counterpart for these road projects.

Aside from the agricultural improvements, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has already allotted a total budget of P959 million for the development of the General Santos City Airport.

Dubbed as the “Aerotropolis,” the proposed rehabilitation and expansion of the airport will include the construction and expansion of the passenger and terminal buildings miscellaneous works such as demolition, road inside the airport property, expansion parking area and the purchase of navigational aids.

On top of P959-million budget, the DOTC had already allocated P50 million expansion of arrival and check-in areas, closure of an existing open space at the second floor, and the rearrangement of the entry and exit doors.(by Ian Lagare/CPIO)

DTI releases P26M for SMEs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 12 has distributed around P26 million worth of machinery and equipment this year to help improve the operations and competitiveness of various enterprises in the region.

Blaan weavers will hopefully improve their still crude abaca spindling method with the help of DTI.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Blaan weavers will hopefully improve their still crude abaca spindling method with the help of DTI.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Ibrahim Guiamadel, DTI Region 12 director, said Monday the initiative is part of the continuing implementation in the region of the agency’s flagship Shared Service Facility (SSF) Project.

He said they released the machineries and equipment in the form of project grants to 54 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) based in parts of the region.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“The grants were aimed to improve their products and enhance their market competitiveness,” Guimadel said in a statement.

The official said the DTI central office had allotted a total of P54.2 million for 83 SSF project grants in the region this year.

SSF was launched by the DTI to assist the expansion and address the development needs of MSMEs in the country.

Guiamadel said the initiative aims to help local MSMEs produce more products of better quality and at a lesser production cost.

In Region 12, the priority industry clusters that are covered by SSF program are abaca, bamboo, coconut coir, processed fish, processed food, wearables and homestyles, cacao, coffee and rubber.

The units are provided for free to the beneficiaries but will remain the property of the DTI for six years upon their awarding or release, he said.

He said their ownership would be transferred to the beneficiary after the prescribed period by way of donation or sale.

Among the project’s major accomplishments in the region this year was the establishment of a mechanized milking facility in Malungon town in Sarangani in partnership with a local dairy cooperative.

Guiamadel said they released last October two units of portable cow milking machines to the Malalag Cogon Bangkal Dairy Farmers Cooperative to expand and enhance its operations.

He said the automatic milking machines were the first for the cooperative since it started producing fresh cow’s milk about three years ago.

Two weeks ago, Guiamadel said they also turned over four units of abaca spindle stripping machines to a group of weavers based in Barangay Lamlahak in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

He said the machines will mainly improve the quality of abaca fibers that are used in making the province’s popular T’nalak fabric.

The shift from manual to mechanized mode hastens the processes involved in the production of T’nalak by 50 percent, he said.(AE)

SoCot town eyes ban on aerial spraying

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Officials of Surallah town in South Cotabato are planning to ban aerial spraying in agricultural plantations in the area due to its hazards to human health and the environment.

Surallah Vice Mayor Pinky Divinagracia said they are working on the passage of a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the use of the aerial spraying method by a banana plantation company operating in the area.

She said the municipal council’s committee on environment will begin next week a series of public consultations and the gathering of evidences and other vital information that would support the measure.

The vice mayor earlier met with members of the committee to properly set the required processes for the passage of the proposed ordinance.

She said these include the gathering of water samples from rivers and waterways within the municipality that were reported to have been affected by the continuing aerial spraying of pesticides by banana plantation firm Sumifru Philippines Corporation.

More local government units are seeking ban on aerial spraying in banana plantations.FILE FOTO
More local government units are seeking ban on aerial spraying in banana plantations.FILE FOTO

The official cited waterways situated in portions of Barangays Lamian and Veterans, which host the banana plantations of Sumifru. 

The water samples will be sent to a laboratory facility based in Davao City for proper testing, she said.

“The results of the water analysis will be used as evidence against aerial spraying,” Divinagracia said in an interview over radio station dxMC Bombo Radyo.

Fr. Francisco Romano, parish priest of the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Surallah town, lauded the local government’s efforts regarding the problem.

But he said they will push for the immediate passage of a resolution that will set a moratorium against aerial spraying in the area pending the passage of the proposed ordinance.

Hundreds of residents barricaded the runway of the community airport in Surallah last week in protest of the aerial spraying activities of a banana plantation company operating in the area.

Around 300 protesters gathered at the Allah Valley Airport and occupied a portion of the runway in a bid to stop the aerial spraying activities of foreign-backed Sumifru.

The company, which operates banana plantations in Surallah and T’boli towns, had been using the airport as base of its aerial spraying operations.

Omar Azarcon, coordinator of the protest action, said they launched the mobilization to pressure local government leaders in the area to decisively put a stop to the aerial spraying activities of Sumifru.

Citing results of their recent fact-finding mission in the affected areas, Azarcon claimed that they have documented three deaths and numerous cases of various illnesses that were directly caused by the aerial spraying activities.

He said they also found a significant number of residents who have been suffering from various illnesses like asthma and contact dermatitis in the affected communities.(AE)

Tuna industry robust on PH inclusion in EU GSP+

A possible inclusion in the European Union generalized system of preferences plus (GSP+) will provide the Philippine tuna industry the much needed shot in the arm, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Inclusion in the list of GSP+ countries will mean lifting of the tariffs on hundreds of export products from the Philippines, including canned tuna.

“With GSP+, we hope to improve our share of EU’s fresh and processed tuna market as it will give our products a better fighting chance,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

At present, tuna exports to the European market are subject to 20.5% duties while tuna exports from competitor countries such as African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have been enjoying a zero tariff.

Workers at a Philippine tuna canning plant.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Workers at a Philippine tuna canning plant.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

According to Francisco Buencamino, executive director of the Tuna Canners Association of the Philippines, canned tuna exports to Europe in 2012 reached 3,202,659 cases or 42.5 percent of the country’s export volume of 7,538,093 cases.

The value of canned tuna exports to Europe reached US$123,295,407 or 44.8 percent of the total US$275,295,399 export receipts of the country.

“In terms of availment, there is no doubt that GSP+ will increase capacity utilization of canned tuna processing capacity, now estimated only to be about 55%-60% of daily capacity of +1,300 tons per day,” Buencamino said in the 15th National Tuna congress last year.

Industry sources said the inclusion of the Philippines in the EU GSP+ will mean at least additional US$15 million in export revenues or P660 million.

Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. recently reported that the European Union has posed no objection into the application of the Philippines to be included the list of beneficiary countries of the EU’s GSP+ system of tariff preferences.

The application is now reportedly headed to the European Parliament for deliberation.
The Philippines must however continue to observe and comply with 27 specified international conventions in the fields of core human and labour right, the environment and good governance.

It must also strictly follow ratified conventions by the world tuna governing body – the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Among them is traceability and HACCP compliance.

Industry sources from the local tuna industry said the lifting of tariffs and duties on Philippine tuna export to EU could come as early as the second of next year.

“Definitely, this will be a big boon to the tuna industry which has seen the tapering down of growth in the last decade,” the source who requested that his name be withheld.

The source said the industry must face strong lobby from tuna-producing countries in Europe who are likely to resist the inclusion of the Philippines in the EU GSP+

White corn production eyed in Gensan

DA eyes export of pork products

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The agriculture department in Region 12 said it may start exporting cut pork meat products from the region to various foreign markets.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 executive director, said among the possible export markets are Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

She said negotiations with these countries and local producers in the region are ongoing.

“We are working on this (pork exports) now and hopefully it will materialize soon,” she said in their regular television program Agri Tayo Soccsksargen.

Region 12 is the country’s leading producer of “pork-in-a-box” producers.

“We want our pork-in-a-box products to also reach the foreign markets just like our premium rice,” Datukan said.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato.

Data from the DA Region 12’s Veterinary Quarantine Services showed that the region produced a total of 124,366 heads of excess hogs in 2013 that were valued at around P1.09 billion.

In terms of pork, the area produced around 12,347 metric tons last year that were valued at P1.97 billion.

About 28 percent of the area’s hog produce ended up at the Matutum Meat Packing Corp (MMPC) based in Polomolok town in South Cotabato, 26 percent to Metro Manila and 13 percent to Cebu.

DA initially forged a deal with Singapore in early 2007 for the shipment of fresh cuts and processed pork meat products to the area from the Makar port here.

The area was chosen by the national government to initiate the country’s pork exports since Mindanao had been certified free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease by the Office International des Epizooties or World Organization for Animal Health.

DA had tapped two Mindanao firms — the MMPC and the Davao City-based Nenita Quality Foods Corp. — to pilot the pork exports then.

MMPC, a sister company of Cebu-based Sunpride Foods Inc. which produces Holiday corned beef and Sunpride canned goods, had invested around P200 million for a state-of-the-art processing plant in Polomolok town.

But the agreement eventually fell through without any single shipment making it to Singapore due to problems with the national government’s policies and the detection of the Ebola Reston virus in a hog farm in Luzon.