North Cotabato and Region 12 Gear Up for the World Market

by James Zamora, OpinYon Mindanao

North Cotabato - The call of President Rodrigo RoaDuterte to "level the playing field" in Philippine society is appropriate as the new administration prepares to take the helm of government. Region 12 and North Cotabato have responded by gearing upand levelling up the various sectors’ capabilityforcompetition and globalization.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) of Region 12 last week spearheaded a series of conferences with the Regional Development Council (RDC). One conference was on the cardava banana, a once lowly crop now earning foreign exchange and admiration from Overseas Filipinos who have started to relish said fruit through exporters who buy their produce from local farmers. The RDC has strengthened the organization of the sector and isaddressing issues and problems facing the cardava farmers in the wake of the long drought caused by El Nino.

Profits from going bananas

Rogelio D.Caoagdan, president of the Cardava Banana Council of Region 12, informed the RDC of efforts to export fresh cardavasince last year through Saudi importers. The Saudi importers in turn re-export some of the cardava to the United Arab Emirate market. “The prevailing price of a kilo of cardava at the farmgateoffered by local traders is only P3.50, while the export market can boost the price to as high as P8/kg at the farmgate,” Caoagdan said.

In a related development, DA Region 12 consolidated the organization of Livestock Growers and Poultry Raisers in North Cotabato so that they can take advantage of the international market. The Philippines has long been declared foot-and-mouth-disease-free (FMD-free since 2011) but this did not translate into aggressive internationalmarket penetration by Filipino producers. As a matter of fact, the Philippines continues to import much of its livestock and poultry needs.

The Provincial Veterinary Office spearheaded the organizational consolidationof the livestock growers in line with the Provincial Government’s thrust of “SerbisyongTotoo.”

Renewable energy

In the energy sector, Unihydro Technologies of Cebu City is set to start construction of a 27-MW hydroelectric project in the municipality of Magpet. Construction will be done in two phases in line with the provisions of R.A. 9513, also known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. Based on the act, the localcommunity will benefit from the energy projectthrough a livelihood support program, subsidized power rate to the residents consuming 100KW or less, and reforestation program. Moreover, more local enterprises are expected to be established due to energy availability.

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Saturday, 18 January 2020
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