SANTIAGO CITY, Isabela – The government must infuse the needed financial and technical support to the local agriculture industry in order to significantly improve their production in order to help them move out from the shackles of poverty, Charles T. Lim, Regional Governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in the Cagayan Valley, said here recently.
Lim said the current production of rice farmers which is pegged at 120 to 150 cavans per hectare is simply enough to sustain their living condition amidst the bright prospects of rice to thrive in the area as a major source of income for the growing population.
The Cagayan Valley is considered one of the major rice-producing areas in the country because of the vast tracks of agricultural lands in the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya that are used for rice and corn production year round.
From the current 120 to 150 cavans per hectare, Lim said through the financial and technical support of concerned government agencies, the production of rice farmers could increase to at least 300 cavans per hectare for the country to be at part with the productivity of rice farmers in Vietnam and Thailand.
In terms of corn production, Lim said the current harvest of corn farmers that ranges from 4 to 5 cavans per hectare is way below standards, thus, concerned government agencies must be able to develop the appropriate technologies in order to significantly increase their production and help them move out from the shackles of poverty.
He said the application of the technology to be developed should be accredited as a national competency course to be issued the necessary certification in order for trained corn farmers to be able to gainfully employed in other corn-producing countries thereby providing opportunities for them to earn descent income that will help uplift the living condition of their families.
According to him, corn farmers must be able to increase their production to 14 to 15 cavans per hectare in order to be at par with the corn production standards and for them to be able to earn the needed income that will help uplift the living condition of their families.
Lim claimed rice and corn farmers must be able to maximize their production during the prescribed cropping season in order to guarantee staple food for the Filipinos, generate employment in the agriculture sector and increase the sources of livelihood that will contribute in improving the living condition of agriculture industry stakeholders and significantly improve the contribution of agriculture in the country’s economic growth.
For Isabela alone, Lim revealed that 170,000 hectares of irrigated lands and 20,000 hectares of non-irrigated lands are available for agriculture production which must be maximized in order to further improve the state of agriculture in the Cagayan Valley for it to be able to contribute in perking up the country’s economic growth.
By Dexter A. See