San Jose, Occ. Mindoro - The first regional meeting for cassava stake holders of MIMAROPA was held in Sikatuna Beach Hotel in this municipality on July 8-10, 2010. Issues regarding on the improvement of the current variety of cassava being planted by the farmers in the region together with the expansion of area planted were the main concern during the meeting.
The said meeting was organized by the GMA Corn and Cassava Program Regional Coordinator Mr. Antonio R. Gonzales who is represented on the said occasion by Engr. Chritine Inting, regional corn report officer and cassava focal person of the Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Unit (DA-RFU) 4-B. It was attended by the provincial corn coordinators and report officers representing the five provinces of the region, since cassava crop is a commodity being integrated under the program. Because the crop is quite familiar to them, everyone is interested about the project. They said that the planting of cassava is very much timely since it will not need much attention compared to other crops. It can be also propagated even during dry season or when water supply is insufficient, hence it can also defy the effect of climate change.
Several varieties of cassava were introduced during the power point presentation of Mr. Hernani Lapid, researcher of Department of Agriculture - Research Outreach Station (DA-ROS) and the current in-charge of the cassava varietal trial in Romblon State University. About 40 varieties are now planted in a hectare research farm of the university and scheduled to be harvested on the third week of July. The woody matured cassava stems after harvest will be distributed to interested farmers in Romblon or even in other provinces with in the region for rapid propagation of this plant.
At present, the provincial government of Occidental Mindoro has already planted about 30 has of cassava in Brgy Canturoy in the municipality of Rizal. They planned to double or even triple the area by the next cropping season as they recruit more farmers to plant cassava since marketing of the produce is not a problem.
Mr. Raymond Britanico area representative of San Miguel Corporation assured that dried cassava products will be absorb by the company since they have 3 mixing plant in the south Luzon alone that can handle bulk produce. He encouraged the participants to organize first an assembler before encouraging farmers to plant cassava since the company will just negotiate only to one group.
After the meeting, the group visited the cassava plantation in Brgy Canturoy, in the municipality of Rizal where the 30 has of cassava plantation of the province is situated. They also conducted a side trip in the Calumpit Multipurpose Cooperative to observe the department's three-million pesos grant village type corn-on-cob dryer in Brgy Calumpit in the municipality of Sablayan. (DEBentoy)