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Farmers want programs for high-value crops, say

Mindanao farmers have called on the national government to provide interventions on specific crops, among them high-value ones, to insure the agricultural productivity of the island.

In a list of resolutions submitted during the Mindanao Farmers Congress Saturday here, members of the Ugnayan ng mga Nagsasariling Lokal na Organisasyon sa Kanayunan – Mindanao (Unorka-Mindanao) identified the crops that need to be provided with assistance as cacao, Cavendish bananas, fruits, coconut, oil palm and rice.

The farmers turned over the resolutions to Davao del Norte Second District Rep. Alan R. Dujali, Sen. Christopher Lawrence T. Go, and representatives of concerned agencies.

Romeo V. Ticon, Unorka-Mindanao project officer, said the resolutions, which were the outputs of workshops with farmer groups, particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB), “need to be provided to government agencies so that they will know the needs of the farmers, their status in life and their hopes.”

Ticon said problems of farmers need key solutions as the group is also looking at accessing partnerships both with government and other groups to ensure the group of farmers. “We know that farmers have problems in production, problems in post-harvest facilities and that these need to be addressed,” he said.

He said among key issues that they also want government to act on are the issues on the certificate of landownership awards issued to ARBs but the land that was specified in the CLOA is not available. “We want DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) to ensure that ARBs with CLOA are installed in the lands given them,” he said, pointing out that there are ARBs who have not been installed even when they have received their CLOAs.

Another issue that of the post-harvest facilities. In a workshop in Cotabato City, rice farmers claimed that although they can maximize production, the absence of post-harvest facilities like mechanical driers and warehouses have become the main challenges, he said.

The resolutions are;

• Urging departments and instrumentalities of the government including development partners to expedite interventions that will empower the ARB farmers of Mindanao;

• Urging the Department of Trade and Industry, (the) High Value Crops Development Program of the Department of Agriculture, and other relevant agencies of the government to provide necessary support in order to sustain the cacao industry’s position in the international market as (local producers are known as) producers of high-quality cacao beans;

• Requesting the Department of Agriculture and other relevant agencies of the government to put forward interventions that will improve the farm productivity of ARB Cavendish growers;

• Requesting the Department of Science and Technology and the High Value Crops Development Program of the Department of Agriculture and other relevant agencies of the government to mentor the fruit farmers in order to advance its (sic) production in the value chain;

• Requesting the Department of Trade and Industry to lead and coordinate other programs of the government that will help promote entrepreneurship among ARB coconut, including oil palm, farmers;

• And, requesting the Department of Agriculture to involve Unorka – Mindanao in the consultation for the crafting and implementation of the rice industry roadmap.

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