073020

by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

As the initial Sorghum seeds donated by a Texas seed production company to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) show promising results in field trials, Mindanao farmers could expect more support from their American counterparts.

Yesterday, after I sent some photos of the standing Sorghum crops planted in several experimental farms in Mindanao, Coby Kriegshauser, co-owner of Scott Seed Company, said he will gather the support of other Texas Sorghum seed producers for the MinDA Sorghum Development Program.

Kriegshauser said his group will link up with US government agencies to manifest their interest to support Mindanao development programs to help it recover from the adverse effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Sorghum is an African grass improved and developed in Texas and other Mid-American states which produces grains high in protein for human food and animal feeds.

A distinct Sorghum variety is also used for the production of the Chinese popular wine, Baijiu.

It is a good complementary crop to corn for livestock and poultry feeds and is considered more drought resilient needing only 25% of the water requirements of corn.

Unlike corn whose stalks and leaves dry up and turn brown at harvest, Sorghum stalks and leaves remain green thus making it an ideal silage material for cattle, carabao and goats.

As a farmer myself who understands that high feeds cost results in high prices for local poultry and livestock, I designed a national Sorghum Development Program when I was Secretary of Agriculture.

It was because of this program that I visited Texas in July 2019 and befriended several Sorghum seeds producers like Coby Kriegshauser of Scott Seed and Jerry Monk of Warner Seeds.

Kriegshauser donated P5-M worth of Sorghum seeds for trial planting in the Philippines but when I moved to MinDA, the national Sorghum program was discontinued by the DA.

I decided to continue the program in Mindanao as Chairman of MinDA knowing of the crop’s huge potential contribution to the growth of the agriculture-based economy of Mindanao.

In December last year, a MinDA team along with officials from Davao del Norte led by Governor Edwin Jubahib travelled to Texas to receive the donated seeds.

The donated Sorghum seeds arrived in February this year and after a series of orientation workshops and market linkage meetings, the seeds were distributed to several local government units.

Davao del Norte got the biggest bulk of the seeds while several demonstration farms were also established in other provinces and harvest is expected next month.

MinDA is now preparing a 5-year Sorghum Development Program for Mindanao which will target the development of 100,000 hectares for Sorghum.

When fully developed, it is an industry which is projected bring in about P10-B a year for the Sorghum farmers and support the poultry and livestock industry of Mindanao making these sectors competitive.

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