PILI, Camarines Sur: The regional office for Bicol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) here is buying over 100,000 pieces of pili seedlings and a huge volume of handy farm tools to distribute to farmers in the region.
The procurement of a total of 133,000 pieces of pili seednuts with pulp worth Php99,750 and its distribution to farmers is under the High Value Crop Development Program (HVCDP) of the agency while the assorted garden tools worth Php800,000 for distribution to farmers is under the National Rice Program (NRP) in Bicol, according to DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas.
The HVCDP is an intervention falling under the application of Republic Act 7900 or the High-Value Crops Development Act of 1995 that allots funds for providing production assistance, technology transfer, marketing and processing that now steer farmers towards generating more income.
In the HVCDP, assistance to producers concerning crop insurance, credit, post-harvest facilities, good seeds, planting materials and fiscal incentives are also provided.
Bragas said that his office, under its HVCDP, has embarked on the enhancement of pilinut production in Bicol, the region’s source of prime and indigenous delicacy that has been winning a competitive niche in the world market.
“We have been distributing thousands of pili seedlings for free to farmers all over the region as we embark on the expansion of local pili nut production which has a great potential for development as a major export crop,” he told the Philippines News Agency over the weekend.
Apart from the attractiveness of pili nut’s products to the world market, Bragas said, pili is another tree of life in Bicol, next to coconut, with all its parts being useful.
The resin (elemi), which is extracted from its bark, is a known export product of the country for many years.
It has both pharmaceutical and industrial uses being ingredient in the manufacture of plasters, ointments, paints, varnish, sealants, lacquers, asphalt, water and fire proofing, linoleum, plastics and printing inks.
DA records shows that for many years, the Philippines has been exporting resin or Brea (Manila elimi) to the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Cuba, China, Hongkong and Japan.
The kernel, when roasted and ground, is used as ingredients here and abroad for ice cream, salads, puddings, toppings for cakes, bread, pastries, confectioneries and other delicacies like marzipan, fruit-cereal bar and fruit and nut mixed chocolate.
Rich in micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, zinc, copper, iron, sodium, thiamine and niacin, it can be eaten raw or processed as roasted, fixated or sugar-coated and is served in the same way as cashew or almond, or peanuts.
Bicol’s pilinut has rightfully become a luxury food item—one of the finest gifts of the Philippine tropics to the world.
Oil from both pili nut kernel and pulp is considered equal if not better to olive oil in quality and is suitable for culinary uses while the pulp also produces pickle, vegetable dishes and edible oil.
At present, Sorsogon is the largest pili producer in Bicol followed by Albay and Camarines Sur.
“We want all the other three provinces of the region—Catanduanes, Masbate and Camarines Norte—to get involved in this enhancement program,” Bragas stressed.
On the other hand, the NRP —guided by the Agrikulturang Pilipino (Agri-Pinoy) framework that integrates government initiatives and interventions for the agriculture sector toward food security and self-sufficiency.
And so with sustainable resource management, support services from farm to table and broad-based local partnerships, is one of the banner components of the DA mainly concerned in rice farming and uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers.
The Agri-Pinoy Rice Program, Bragas said, plays a key role in the Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP), the central focus of the country’s food security policy from 2011 to 2016 and beyond.
With the vision of a food-secure society where farmers enjoy a decent and rising standards of living, the FSSP 2011-2016 aims to achieve self-sufficiency in food staples.
Self-sufficiency means satisfying domestic requirements for food, seeds, processing, and feeds through domestic production, the regional DA chief said.
To carry out these objectives, he said, various government interventions are undertaken from the national to the local levels in the form of support to rice production; irrigation; post-harvest and other infrastructure facilities; market development services; extension, education and training services; and research and development.
In an Invitation to Bid published on its website, the DA regional office said the pili seednuts procurement will be pursuant to alternative method specifically shopping under Section 52 of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and its revised Implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“As per approved Purchase Request and considering the nature of requisition being not more than Php500,000 and in order to fast-tract the implementation of the program, this procurement is facilitated thru Alternative Method of Procurement specifically Shopping under Section 52 of RA 9184 and its Revised IRR,” DA regional administration and finance chief Rosario Sales, who chairs the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), said in the publication.
Deadline for submission of bids for this procurement is set on Nov. 13, this year, she said.
On the supply and delivery of assorted garden tools, Sales said “the agency is inviting accredited and qualified suppliers, dealers or manufacturers to apply for eligibility and to submit complete bid.”
The total approved budget for the contract is Php800,000, said Sales, who added that the deadline for the submissions of bid is on Nov. 24, also this year.