|DA-Bicol turns over P2.4 million-worth tractor to corn farmers in Cam Sur|
|Written by Liz Navera, Bicol Pulse|
|Thursday, 06 February 2014 16:55|
The Department of Agriculture in Bicol region turned over a P2.4 million 4-Wheel Drive tractor to a cooperative of corn farmers in Partido Area in the province of Camarines Sur, during the turn-over ceremony held at the Post Harvest Processing and Trading Center (PHPTC) (Grain Center) in Caraycayon, Tigaon last January 28.
Financed by the Agri-Pinoy Corn Program, the tractor was acquired by the KASARO coop upon their request, and through the endorsement of former Congressman Noli Fuentebella. A counterparting scheme was adopted where the DA provided 85% (P2, 040, 000) of the total cost of the machinery, while the coop shouldered 15% (P360, 000)of total cost.
As an emerging coop in Tigaon, the KASARO coop is financing 680 hectares of corn farms in Tigaon, Ocampo and other areas in Camrines Sur. It has 280 members engaged mainly in corn production and hog fattening. Their office is strategically located beside the Grains Center, where they deliver their produce.
Since its establishment on March 2013, the grain center facilities has been benefitting the agricultural department of the municipality of Tigaon. However, Coop Chairman Juanito Royo said the coop is still in its infant stage so it has not yet acquired a steady income. With the acquisition of the 4WD tractor, they expect to generate huge income which will be distributed to the members as dividends.
Former Municipal Agriculturist and now Municipal Councilor and agriculture committee chair Jose Fomalejo, who represented Mayor Arnulf Bryan Fuentebella, said:
The 5 hectare area where the Grains Center is located will soon become the agribusiness center of Tigaon, with the construction of the DA-DAR-DENR convergence project - circumferential road traversing the corn areas.
Also to rise in same site is the P20 M farm-to-market road, which is scheduled for implementation by DA this year, and a rice processing center. Tigaon is a first class municipality of Camarines Sur with 3, 042 hectares of effective area devoted to corn production.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Lomerio, chief of the Operations Division of DA and Corn Program regional coordinator, said the corn industry in Bicol attained an increase of 11.96% in production performance for 2013 as compared with the 2012 production. Camarines Sur contributed 40% of the 258, 115 MT regional production for 2013. The region’s average yield in corn is 2.36 MT/ha, while Camarines Sur recorded an average yield of 3.70MT/ha.
Lomerio also underscored the major issues faced by the 38 corn farm clusters in the region, including: low productivity caused by low utilization of high quality seeds and fertilizer; most farmers still use traditional varieties, low adoption of cost reducing technologies—IPM/biological control of pests and use of Bio-N, organic fertilizer; and high postharvest losses (12.75%).
In addressing these problems, the DA ties up with NFA in the white corn procurement plan—where in the DA will provide free OPV corn seeds to farmers to cover 1, 000 hectares for the April and May planting, while the NFA will buy all the farmers’ produce to process them into corn grits which will be mixed with rice. Lomerio also added that PCIC has allocated P900, 000 for the crops insurance of corn farmers in Bicol and urged farmers to avail of this intervention.