ARMM cassava output rises on industrial demand

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COTABATO CITY: Cassava production in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continues to rise due to domestic industrial demand, the regional office of the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAF-ARMM) said.

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Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed Northern Mindanao accounted for 32.1 percent of the national cassava output in the first quarter of the year, with ARMM contributing 16.9 percent and Cagayan Valley 16.6 percent.

Albert Usman, regional cassava coordinator of the DAF-ARMM, noted the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao were the top cassava producers in the region, their harvest sold mainly to industrial buyers.

Cassava from Basilan and Tawi-Tawi is generally used for food, the DAF-ARMM official said.

Cassava is regarded as the third most important food crop in the tropics, after rice and corn. Valued by small-scale farmers for its tolerance to drought and infertile soil, the crop is essentially ecologically efficient.

He emphasized that DAF-ARMM, through its Gender and Development (GAD) unit, has conducted training sessions in cassava food processing in the towns of Talayan, Guindulungan and Sultan Mastura, all in Maguindanao.

The participants were taught how to make cassava cake, cassava jelly, cassava puto taktak, and other cassava-based products and delicacies.

GAD focal person Ramla Macatabang said the training was also geared at empowering women and the youth in cassava food processing for entrepreneurial activities to increase productivity and improve family income.

The training program attracted 148 active participants from Talayan, Guindulungan, and Sultan Mastura.

It is now being implemented in the provinces of Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

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