DavNor cushions impact of COVID-19 pandemic embarks on planting high-value crops

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TAGUM CITY — The provincial government of Davao del Norte cushions the economic impact of the coronavirus-19 pandemic as it embarks on massive planting of high yield crops like sorghum, abaca, and coffee in its vast resources ni different municipalities.

Governor Edwin Jubahib in an interview with Newsline recently said, “While other towns are on lockdown, we embark on massive crop planting, high yield, because we do not know when the pandemic will be over. We need to act and be more productive as people are staying at home, we venture on agriculture given the fertile soil we have here”.

Jubahib last month launched the food sufficiency program of the province by encouraging various departments in the capitol to plant vegetables in vacant spaces near their offices to set as an example for residents to do urban gardening back home.

Aside from banana production which has been in place worldwide, Jubahib said they just planted abaca, coffee and sorghum in the municipalities of Talaingod, Kapalong, San Isidro and New Corella.

The provincial government launched the Coffee Adaptive Training Approach cum Organizational Strengthening of Davao del Norte Coffee Cluster on Monday, June 29, in partnership with line government agencies.

Trade and Industry provincial director Romeo Castañaga during the launch said, “We want Davao del Norte in addressing the gap of coffee supply. Phils is 5th highest consumer of coffee in the world. The number one importer of soluble coffee, yung instant coffee, and number 4 importer of coffee. Production is 7% of our consumption. Coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world next to water and the second most traded commodity next to petroleum”.

Provincial government employees urban garden near their office at the Capitol.-PIC/DavNor

Instead of people staying in their homes, Jubahib said local leaders have encouraged their communities to go to their farm and produce more to strengthen their economy as the world economy is greatly hit with the pandemic.

Jubahib said the provincial government along with the Department of Agriculture (DA) XI and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Field Office are in close coordination for this endeavor.

Talaingod town Mayor Jonni Libayao said, his town used to produce quality abaca until the market fizzled out during the late ’90s when abaca plant shut down due to insurgency problems in the region.

Last month, Libayao said, they launched the abaca planting and the tribal communities gladly welcomed the renewed commitment of the government to support them.

The seedlings planted in the villages of Milako, Kaylawan and Igang, Talaingod town, from June 11 to 14.-PIO/DavNor

A tribal chieftain said “Sa abaca mi nabuhi kaniadto pa, pero nawala sya, karon nga gitagaan mi og igong suporta, among paningkamotan nga molampos ni kay mao sab ni ang mobuhi sa among mga pamilya (We thrived with abaca before but it died, now that we get support, we will try to succeed to fend for our families).

The coffee growers association of Talaingod is also getting support from the provincial government and the DTI.

Gen. Ruben Basiao, commander of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, who was present during the ceremonial launch of Abaca and sorghum planting in Talaingod said, “Providing people with livelihood and presenting them options to earn will make them busy and soon they will forget that this town was once rebel-infested”.

Basiao said the farmers are into active tilling of their soil because they have to feel secured with the government support for the communities.

In a forum recently held in Davao del Norte, Marivic Dubria, 2019 Philippine Coffee Quality Competition Champion – Arabica Category and Chairperson of Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA), shared her experience abroad that assured her of the coffee farming potential in the province.

Dubria said the many farmers nowadays want to plant coffee since it has high potential in the world market specifically in the United States, “We need to produce more because there is high demand”, she narrated her experience.

As it is now, the Philippine coffee market is high, and some merchants import coffee to respond to the demand. Jubahib said the provincial government will monitor the development in areas newly planted as he vowed to provide technical support to them. “They need more training and capacity building to learn new technologies and be more competitive”.

The challenge is now in the hands of the farmers and Davao del Norte stakeholders on how to produce qualify coffee that is responsive to the demand of the world market.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline

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