KIDAPAWAN CITY- Despite the downtrend in prices of cup lumps, rubber farmers in the province of North Cotabato continue to plant rubber and acquire seedlings from the office of the provincial agriculturist according to Governor Emmylou “Lala” Talino-Mendoza in her recent State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Amas Gymnasium in the Provincial Capitol of North Cotabato.
Mendoza reported that about P1.4 million budded rubber seedlings were distributed to 2,390 beneficiaries and the province has expanded their rubber area planted with quality planting materials to 2,942.71 hectares.
“We have also distributed big bag rubber planting materials to 460 recipients covering 770 hectares whereby if proper planting procedures are observed has only four years gestation period,” she said.
The province has also conducted 100 trainings on the establishment or rubber plantation and management. Technical assistance on tapping and pest control were also given to 4,001 participants and distributed 2,800 tapping knives to rubber tappers/plantation owners.
The province also extended support to the rubber farmers in marketing through the establishment of 39 bagsakan or rubber trading centers in 11 municipalities in the province to cushion the blow of low prices of rubber cup lumps.
“As much as P5 more than the prevailing market price is offered to our rubber farmers who sell their cup lupms to the bagsakan centers. Last year alone they earned close to P40 million as incentive,” Mendoza said.
This initiative is part of the economic development and livelihood assistance program of Mendoza’s “Serbisyong Totoo” wherein the agriculture program is designed to withstand all kinds of challenges including weather conditions.
“Although we cannot control natural or human induced calamities, we have a bankable pro-active and immediate reactive actions to help our farmers bounce back from any difficulty because our commitment to food security is unwavering,” she said.
Apart from rubber, the province’s oil palm project has also been well received by the farmers wherein a total of 524,969 oil palm seedlings were distributed to 1,720 beneficiaries and 46 trainings on oil palm production and management conducted. In total, the province has expanded its oil palm plantation area to 3,402.61 hectares.
Meanwhile, the province’s coconut program have expanded plantation to 1,582.55 hectares in eight years and distributed 158,255 coconut seedlings to 1,422 recipients, 22,750 bags of salt fertilizers to 7,963 recipients and conducted 36 trainings on coconut production and management.
The company TreeLife in Carmen, Cotabato has captured the international market such as Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands for coco sugar, syrup, virgin coconut oil, coco wine and others which the coconut farmers are partners.
Mendoza said they are encouraging their farmers to also venture into cacao production wherein 559,302 cacao seedlings were distributed to 1,171 beneficiaries who were also given technical assistance.
Under the province’s coffee program, about 210,073 coffee seedlings were distributed to 657 beneficiaries and conducted 24 trainings on coffee production and management.
For the banana program they were able to expand the banana plantation to 136 hectares and about 150,000 tissue-cultured lacatan and 5,400 cardava seedlings were distributed to 5,680 beneficiaries.
“As an agricultural province, we are privileged to have anything and almost everything that grows on soil. At the same time, we’re are the first to bear the brunt of destruction when calamities strike,” she said.(LON MIN)