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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The news that a source for Hass Avocado planting materials has finally been found in a backyard in Bukidnon spread like wild fire yesterday and elicited hundreds of requests for scions and planting materials from all over.

Sorry folks but the Mindanao Hass Avocado Project which is part of the Mindanao Development Authority's Green Mindanao Program will not work that way.

We are not going to introduce a program which will later end up in a mess with a deluge of complaints rather than stories of success.

This means that not everybody interested to plant Hass Avocado will be given access to the planting materials.

This will not be another "Banana Q Boom and Bust" story where everybody plants and sells the same thing simply because people say it is profitable.

In implementing the Mindanao Hass Avocado Program, MinDA will consider the following:

1. Clear definition of purpose for the project which is to provide economic activities for poor families in the highlands and to promote the planting of fruit trees in the deforested areas of Mindanao;

2. A scientific identification of the ideal areas to be planted with the help of consultants who will be engaged by MinDA early next year;

3. A scientific study of the absorptive capacity of the local market for Hass Avocado so that the area to be planted will not produce a volume that would be beyond it and cause a collapse in prices;

4. Prospective growers/farmers will be identified according to the suitability of their farms for the planting of Hass Avocado who will be linked to the off-taker or a direct buyer with a corresponding marketing agreement;

5. All the growers/farmers identified will be included in database indicating their farm location and size and will undergo technical and financial capability training;

6. MinDA's banking partner, the Development Bank of the Philippines, will be brought in to provide support funds for the program.

These are the protocols which will be observed in introducing this new agricultural industry which I believe could boost the economy of Mindanao and address the poverty in the highlands populated mainly by the Indigenous Peoples.

We have learned so many lessons in the past where poorly planned undertakings like the planting of Ramie, Jathropa and others were introduced to farmers without the benefit of a careful study.

The result was economic disaster for the poor and gullible farmers.

The Mindanao Hass Avocado Program will not go down the same road.

Watch the full video below:

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