THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the local government of Cabagan, Isabela recently launched a block farming project to help increase farmer incomes as well as boost the country’s sugarcane production.
The project seeks to improve productivity at sugarcane farms that are collectively managed by cooperatives.
Sugar block farming (SBF) was introduced in pilot farms in 2012 by the SRA in collaboration with the DAR and the Department of Agriculture. All farms were said to have experienced productivity gains ranging from 7.47 to 100 percent.
The DAR expects to have the same result with the 44 farmer-beneficiaries of the Malasi Lake Producers Cooperative, the local cooperative in Cabagan, which will manage a 35-hectare sugar block farm.
Under the partnership, farm operators will be provided by the DAR with heavy equipment such as tractors for land preparation and dump trucks for hauling. The SRA, meanwhile, will conduct technical training.
Block farming involves the consolidation of the management of small farms of less than five hectares into a bigger farm of at least 30 hectares. Ownership of the land, however, remains with agrarian reform beneficiaries.