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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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1106 dti

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101920 2

by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The corn-producing town of Baungon, Bukidnon will soon serve as a model for other agricultural communities in Mindanao, even in the Philippines, on how to use its own resources in protecting its farmers.

On Thursday, leaders of the town, led by its mayor, vice mayor, councilors, farmer leaders and representatives of civil society organizations all agreed to establish its Municipal Corn Industry Development Program.

The Baungon Corn Industry Development Program will provide support and protection to the town's corn farmers who for ages have suffered from very high cost of seeds, farm inputs and agricultural machinery services and exploitation by traders who manipulate buying prices at peak harvest.

The program includes the acquisition of tractors, corn planters, harvesters, seeds and fertilizer loaning and a Corn Grains Silo Complex where farmers could deposit their produce at peak harvest to wait for a better price.

This concept actually was designed by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) as part of its Mindanao Corn Industry Development Program which is presented to the European Union-funded Mindanao Rise Program.

At least four pilot areas have been identified for this program, including one in Bukidnon Province, but Baungon was not identified earlier.

When I visited Baungon earlier this month, 27-year-old Mayor Giovanni Dahino presented to the MinDA team the problem of the corn farmers of very low prices.

Baungon is a major corn producing town of Bukidnon with an estimated harvest area of 7,000 hectares and an annual production of at least 45,000 metric tons.

Emphasizing that national government intervention on this problem could be very slow, MinDA presented the Mindanao Corn Grains Silo Storage Concept which the town could establish as an Economic Enterprise.

MinCOGSS involves the establishment of a grains storage facility to be owned by the Local Government Unit of Baungon and operated by its Economic Enterprise Office.

The program aims to stabilize the supply and price of corn to boost the region's livestock and poultry industry.

Under the program, Baungon's corn farmers will be supported by the LGU with tractor and harvest facilities, seeds and farm inputs on low-interest supervised loans payable after harvest.

At harvest time when farm gate prices fall, the MinCOGGS will protect farmers by allowing them to dry and store their corn in the silos.

The farmer will be issued a Quedan paper indicating the volume of corn he deposited.

Using the deposited produce as collateral, farmers could make a cash advance based on the prevailing price.

When the price of corn goes up after peak harvest, the farmer could surrender his Quedan paper and get the balance based on the prevailing price.

After the program orientation, which included a commitment of funding support from the Development Bank of the Philippines, MinDA's banking partner, Mayor Dahino, other local officials and the town's farmers unanimously endorsed the program.

The DBP Cagayan de Oro Lending Center head said the bank could lend up to 100% of the total capitalization requirements of the LGU in the Corn Grains Silo Storage Program.

By the second week of November, MinDA will conduct a two-day workshop for Baungon officials and farmer leaders to craft the details of the program.

Baungon officials said they would like to see the Economic Enterpirse Project operating before the end of 2021 in time for the last corn harvest of the year.

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102220

 

The MinDA family mourns the demise of Director Reyzaldy B. Tan.

“RBT” as he is fondly called in MinDA, served as the agency’s Director for Planning, Policy, and Project Development Office. He took the lead in crafting strategic plans and policy advocacies to make sure Mindanao gets its fair share of development. He was a leader and a mentor, who always turned even the most abstract ideas into tangible and workable outputs.

Prior to joining MinDA, he already had a long career in public service and development sector, particularly in pursuing peace and development efforts in then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which later became Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

He served as Component Manager for the Capacity Building and Empowerment through Peace and Development Communities (PDCs) in the Government of the Philippines-United Nations Multi-Donor Programme (GoP-UN-MDP). He later broadened his work in his engagement with UNDP-managed programs including serving as Deputy Programme Manager for the ACT for Peace Programme of UNDP and Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo).

RBT will live on in our relentless pursuit for a peaceful, progressive, and united Mindanao – a vision that has always inspired his years of dedicated service.

Director Rey is survived by his wife and two sons.

March 8, 1968 – October 20, 2020

 

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons
by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) returns to Baungon, Bukidnon tomorrow to start a program which could liberate corn farmers from the exploitation of unscrupulous traders and middlemen.

The program, Mindanao Corn Grains Silo Storage System, also aims to stabilize the supply and price of corn to boost the region's livestock and poultry industry.

MinCOGSS involves the establishment of a grains storage facility to be owned by the Local Government Unit of Baungon and operated by its Economic Enterprise Office.

Baungon is a major corn producing town of Bukidnon witj an estimated harvest area of 7,000 hectares.

Corn farmers, however, have long complained that prices of their produce drop at peak harvest time, leaving them hardly able to pay back their borrowed production money.

Under the program, Baungon's corn farmers will be supported by the LGU with tractor and harvest facilities, seeds and farm inputs on low-interest supervised loans payable after harvest.

At harvest time when farm gate prices fall, the MinCOGGS will protect farmers by allowing them to dry and store their corn in the silos.

The farmer will be issued a Quedan paper indicating the volume of corn he deposited.

Using the deposited produce as collateral, farmers could make a cash advance based on the prevailing price.

When the price of corn goes up after peak harvest, the farmer could surrender his Quedan paper and get the balance based on the prevailing price.

The program is expected to protect farmers from ages of exploitation because of the absence of drying and storage facilities.

Baungon Mayor Giovanni Dahino will lead local officials and the town's farmers who will attend the forum tomorrow.

Representatives from the Development Bank of the Philippines, MinDA's banking partner, experts on silo operations and feed mill owners are expected to join the forum.

The Baungon Project will serve as the template of the interventions by MinDA to develop the corn industry of Mindanao.

 

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