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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The MinDA Tienda sa Cordillera opens in November 14 in Baguio City even when the team from the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and some perishable goods are still stuck in the flooded areas of the Bicol Region due to Typhoon Ulysses.

Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong will lead the opening ceremonies of what was supposed to be a 2-day activity but which maybe extended for another day or two because of the late arrival of some of the perishable fruits from Mindanao.

Already available in the opening day today are Durian, Mangosteen, Pomelo, Mindanao Beef, Canned Chicken and Ready to Eat Meals in cans, handicraft items and dried fish from the Bangsamoro Region.

A small team from MinDA based in Manila along with officials of Eng Seng Food Products who have been supporting MinDA Tienda will be in the opening ceremonies today.

The main MinDA team led by Asst. Sec. Cherry Santos Akbar are still stranded in Quezon Province waiting for the floodwaters in the highway to subside.

I and my team had to turn back upon reaching Allen, Samar after I was informed by NDRRMC Undersecretary Ric Jalad that it would take days before the floodwaters would subside.

In spite of these setbacks, the MinDA Tienda sa Cordillera will go on as scheduled.

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111320 mrbo
Photo courtesy of NDBC

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will assist in convening the Mindanao River Basin Council (MRBC) on Nov. 27 to address the perennial problem of flooding in Central Mindanao affecting the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

The MRBC, chaired by Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, will meet in the Provincial Capitol of North Cotabato in what could be its first meeting since 2017.

The meeting is expected to address issues of re-aligned funds and the absence of a driving force in pursuing a comprehensive plan to address the flooding which occur almost every year destroying crops in low-lying areas surrounding the vast Liguasan Marsh.

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, who will sponsor the MRBC meeting on Nov. 27, sought updates on the activities in the often flooded River Basin.

The MRBC meeting will be the first in a series of activities arranged by the MinDA as it prepares to craft a comprehensive Master Plan for the Mindanao Water Management, Conservation and Environmental Protection Program.

The Master Plan will include the status of deforestation and denudation of Mindanao Mountain Ranges, identification of Watershed Areas and headwaters, mapping of creeks, rivers and gully and water conservation strategies.

MinDA will be working with its funding partners in crafting the MinDA Water Master Plan which is targeted to be completed by 2022.

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110620

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is introducing the Environmental Farming Program which will promote the planting of fruit trees, especially the high-value Hass Avocado, in the deforested highlands of Mindanao.

With government-initiated reforestation programs hardly succeeding, I thought of combining my advocacy on environmental protection with the effort to increase productivity and address rural poverty.

I had earlier introduced to officials of Dole Philippines, a Japanese-owned multinational agricultural company, the idea of expanding their Hass Avocado production areas through a growership program.

Under the initial concept which I presented to Dole Philippines officers who visited my farm in Kidapawan City two months ago, I asked Dole Philippines to provide technical assistance and Hass Avocado planting materials to farmer-growers who will be asked to sign a marketing agreement with the company.

MinDA, on the other hand, will seek the support of its financing partner, the Development Bank of the Philippines, to provide loan packages to Hass Avocado Growers.

Dole Philippines, which is now exporting to China, started the Hass Avocado Program in Mindanao several years ago from its farms in Calinan, Davao City, South Cotabato and Bukidnon.

It was under the term of President Rody Duterte when the company was able to gain access to the China market with the help of the Department of Agriculture when I was Secretary. It has also pending requests to export Hass to Japan and South Korea.

Hass is the most popular Avocado variety mainly because of its taste and long shelf life, making it a potential major dollar earner for Mindanao.

Ideally grown at elevations of at least 1,000-meters above sea level, Hass Avocado would be a perfect crop for the high elevation logged over areas in Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Oriental and Davao Del Norte.

Yesterday, I received a report that officials of Dole Philippines liked the concept of a growership.

Dole Philippines, formerly an American corporation, has been acquired by Japan’s Itucho Corporation.

It is now the only exporter of Hass Avocado from the Philippines to China.

The planting of Hass Avocado in the deforested highlands fits into the Green Mindanao Project of MinDA which seeks to encourage fruit tree or tree farming in logged-over areas of Mindanao.

The high demand and good price of Hass Avocado in the export market could also boost the income of Filipino farmers and trigger Mindanao’s economic recovery.

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111320 ube

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Mindanao's Purple Yam or Ube, grated and flavored with honey from the forests and milk from well-fed goats, will soon be in the market as "Mindanao Ube Jam.”

Braveheart Farms & Nursery of Kidapawan City which I and my children own as a family farm will be producing this new product which we will launch this December.

This is part of the Complete Value Chain advocacy for our farmers' products which I have embraced since I entered public service in 1995.

The production of the "Mindanao Ube Jam" which I will personally promote and market is the result of the "Adopt-a-Tribal Family" program which I and Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib launched last month.

Among the livelihood projects which we wanted the Ata-Manobo families to be involved with is the growing and production of Ube or the Purple Yam.

While looking for sources of Ube planting materials, I found out that many farmers in Bukidnon have existing Ube farms which are ready for harvest.

With the movement of people and goods restricted by the COVID 19 quarantine protocols, Ube farmers faced another season of failure and losses.

In the recent MinDA Tienda in Manila, about 3 tons of raw Ube were displayed but only 2.5-tons were sold at very low prices.

This made me realize that unless the Ube is processed into a high-value product ready for sale to direct end users, there will also be a problem on the marketing.

Next week, the application for Production Registration will be submitted to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) but pending that I will ask FDA to allow us to share the products to friends.

We have to work on this fast because by December, Mindanao's Ube farmers expect to harvest about 100 tons and unless this is absorbed, I will again see sad faces.

That I cannot take anymore because all my life as a farm boy, I had seen those sad faces of the farmers.

The production of the Mindanao Ube Jam is a risk that I am willing to take if only to see smiling faces of farmers.

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1106 dti

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