2018-02-corn-and-cassava-workshopThe Corn and Cassava coordinators and report officers with the regional staff led by Regional Technical Director for Operations Ronie F. Panoy (1st row, 6th from L) and Regional Corn and Cassava Focal Person Engr. Ma. Christine C. Inting (1st row, 5th from L).

The DA-MiMaRoPa Corn & Cassava banner program together with coordinators and report officers from the provinces were convened for the 2018 Regional Corn and Cassava Planning Workshop and 2017 Performance Assessment.

This activity aims to have ample time to assess progress and plan for a more productive corn and cassava program for this year. It was also conducted to have a close coordination with the coordinators to finalize the machineries and irrigation facilities needed in each province.

Ms. Elenita Marasigan from DA-MiMaRoPa Research Division discussed the Conservation and Management of Philippine Traditional Corn Germplasm in the region which is now being lost because of the varietal replacement and contamination due to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Ms. Prescilla Leviste also from the same division presented the Cassava Research Projects and accomplishments in the region. She also encouraged all participants to strengthen the current projects and contribute any researchable corn and cassava projects.

Value Chain Analysis was also discussed by Mr. Timothy Boromeo of Philippine Rural Development Fund (PRDP) in the region.

Coordinators and report officers from the four (4) provinces also discussed their last year’s accomplishments and 2018 plans. Among the accomplishments presented were the trainings conducted, distributed seeds, machineries and equipment. Some regions had a decrease in areas because some of the corn farmers already converted to high-value crops like banana. While some regions had an increase in their production because buyers are coming in their area.

Mr. Roger Navarro from Philippine Maize Federation (PhilMaize) was also present to discuss the Rice Corn Blend: Staple for Health and Wellness program. This program not just aim to have safe and nutritious staple food but also to stabilize the income of farmers and to lessen the importation of rice for us to have a sustainable corn and rice industry in the next future.

He also shared that Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol had already allotted 500 million to spend for the expansion of the project to enter the local market.

On November 23, 2017, the Rice Corn Blend was launched during the 13th National Corn Congress in Pasay City and to support the program of DA and PhilMaize, the region has committed 4,000 hectares of land to be planted with white corn. As per Ms. Ma. Cristine Inting, Regional Corn and Cassava Coordinator, Occidental Mindoro has committed 3,500 hectares and they are targeting the municipalities of Abra de Ilog, Sta. Cruz, Mamburao, Sablayan and San Jose since they already have corn village type dryer and corn mill. The province of Oriental Mindoro has also committed 500 hectares for the project.

“…we need to strengthen the new areas to be planted with white corn and as well as the current farmers,” Ms. Inting said. She also added that building up and supporting a cooperative, which is the Mindoro Progressive Multi-purpose Cooperative (MPMPC), can resolve the problem in marketing. MPMPC is located in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro and has the capacity to buy white corn and process it into quality corn grits.

Based on RCB business model, National Food Authority (NFA) will supply rice to PhilMaize Miller/Processor and will also buy the product to be distributed to market through their accredited outlets.

In order to increase the income of farmers, Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Gerundio instructed the corn staff to have a meeting with Mayor Maria Gloria M. Constantino, owner of the Montenegro Lines in Abra de Ilog, to decrease the freight cost of farmers in shipping their agricultural produced. He also advised the group to help each other in solving the concerns and providing the needs of clientele and to work on interventions, especially for the Indigenous People.

This four-day activity was held at El Cielito Hotel, Makati City on January 16-19, 2018.

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