• North Cotabato to get farm production boost

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    MAKILALA, NORTH COTABATO: Farmers in North Cotabato are assured of continued support with the provincial government’s announcement of the expansion of its ongoing agricultural development and anti-poverty programs.

    Gov. Emmylou Mendoza of North Cotabao said the provincial government is set to start food security projects amounting to P62.9 million in the towns of Makilala, Arakan, and Aleosan.

    Last year, North Cotabato was declared the top producer of rice in Central Mindanao with the annual production of 518,000 metric tons and second in corn with the production of 592,171 MT.

    The projects, which are designed to boost the agriculture sector of the province, include farm-to-market roads, construction of multi-purpose drying facilities, and construction of village-type feedmills.

    “The province heavily relies on agriculture and it is only correct that we give all-out support to the agriculture sector,” said Mendoza on the sidelines of her State of the Province Address here on Tuesday.

    “Our farmers are assured of our 100-percent support. We have funds allotted for technology and infrastructures and we will make sure that the farmers and their families will benefit from these projects,” she added.

    Mendoza said her administration is doing everything it can to improve the lives of the people, especially those who are in the countryside.

    At least 20 road projects are currently ongoing in different towns of the province. Under the Philippine Rural Development Projects, the road projects cost P119 million. Within the year, five more road projects amounting P410 million will also be implemented.

    In her address, Mendoza also announced the province’s shift from production of raw coconuts or copra to virgin coconut oil and coconut sugar. Also, from the production of rubber cup lumps, the province will also produce dry rubber sheets.

    “Let us find ways to make our high value crops truly of value,” she said.

    The provincial government also intends to expand palm oil plantation to another 500 hectares from the current 12,000 hectares. Also an additional 400 hectares of coconut plantation from the current 38,000 hectares will be added, and 307 hectares of rubber plantation from the current 54,000 hectares will be added.

    Mendoza also cited her administration’s assistance to survivors of calamity – to ensure that there is enough food for them.

    “On food security and production of cereal crops and other basic food products, we supported farmers who were victims of calamities by giving them open pollinated variety of white corn and certified rice seeds,” she said.

    “Because of this, they were able to jumpstart agricultural production without having to worry about capital. This has helped turn our farmers from victims to survivors of calamity,” she added.

    To compliment the production of high-value crops, the provincial government has also been actively promoting the production of high-quality cassava and sweet potato. At least 656 farmers are currently leading this campaign.

    The governor also stressed the importance of backyard vegetable gardening in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

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