The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for the development of Vuhos island—one the 10 islands and islets that make up Batanes—as a possible source of the country’s first-ever organic beef tapa export.
During his visit to the island, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the export of organic tapa from Batanes will help firm up strategies aimed at enhancing the food security of the islands, which is often battered by typhoons and is isolated from mainland Luzon.
“Improvement po ito para sa kanilang food security [This is an improvement for their food security],” Alcala said after the formal turn-over of certificates for P5-million worth of projects to support organic cattle raising at the Sabtang National School of Fisheries in Vuhos.
He added that Vuhos cattle raisers will be assisted in obtaining a fair trade certification to be more competitive in the global markets.
Overseen by a standard-setting body, Fairtrade International, and a certification body, a fair trade certification is a product certification system that allows people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labor and developmental standards.
As an initial step, DA Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reano will be sent to Batanes within this month to personally check on the status of the livestock industry on the island and come up with an industry roadmap, including the development of the production system for organic tapa.
Alcala also instructed the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to study the possible establishment of water impounding facilities in Vuhos and other parts of Batanes, given the water scarcity problem in the province that affects food production activities.
The DA-Batanes Experiment Station reported that Vohus currently has a cattle population of 800 heads raised on an 800-hectare area on the island.