Rising above the odds of Corn, Cassava Industry in the Cordillera Region

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Corn is one of the major crops produced in the Philippines. According to the data of the Philippine Statistic Authority, corn production at 1.81 million metric tons from October-December 2018 is higher by 10.8 percent than the 2017 level of 1.63 million metric tons.

Despite this positive production data, it is also noted that the corn and cassava industry continuously faces challenges, such as pest and disease, climate change, but despite these, the Department of Agriculture (DA) vigorously addresses all the agricultural challenges to achieve the target corn and cassava increase in the production.

This was stressed during the Corn and Cassava CY 2019 Regional Mid-year Review Planning Workshop held on August 22-23, 2019, at the Chalet Baguio, Military Cut-off.

Atty. Jennilyn Dawayan, DA Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulation stated: “We have come a long way, but there is a need to further engage the private sector to invest in the agriculture industry in order to gain more income and elevate our current status”.

She also echoed the statement of DA Secretary William Dar to adopt the ‘new thinking’ paradigm, leveling-up the country’s agriculture sector enumerating that industrialization of agriculture is key; promotion of exports is a necessity; consolidation of small- and medium-sized farms, infrastructure development would be critical, higher budget and investment for Philippine agriculture, legislative support is needed, and roadmap development is paramount.

In addition, Gerardo Banawa, Regional Corn and Cassava Banner Program Coordinator said the department will strengthen the corn and cassava cluster to further sustain the gain in corn self-sufficiency and optimizing the potential harvest.

Banawa, in his statement even, quoted the famous Peter Drucker, saying that, ‘unless a commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes but no plans … now we have a full plan and now we request the people to commit to its success.”

During the activity, as part of the challenges faced here in the region and determined by the DA, was the update on the Fall Army Worm that was morphologically identified in Rizal, Kalinga was presented and that DNA testing is ongoing to verify the said cases.

Banawa, on this issue including El Niño and others, stated that all efforts, aside from doing studies, is exerted to further address problems and advance the welfare of all the stakeholders.

“Our commitment has always been solid and in service of the community and we will continue to do so to advance the status of our agricultural industry and the public in pursuit of excellence,” Banawa stated.

By Alfredo C. Cañero III

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