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DAR pursues sugar block farming in Isabela

news reg 1 pix 1 aug 16 2017CABAGAN, Isabela — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) and the local government of Cabagan, recently launched its sugarcane block farming (SBF) project to help increase farmers’ income, as well as boost the country’s sugarcane production.

The SBF project seeks to improve the productivity of sugarcane farms that are collectively managed by cooperatives. According to DAR Assistant Regional Director Paramon D. Furigay, sugarcane would be great in increasing the farmers’ income and the town’s soil is good for plantation based on studies.

Block farming was introduced in the pilot farms in 2012 by the SRA in collaboration with DAR and the Department of Agriculture.

“With the capacity-building, technical assistance, farm planning and farm management support provided by DAR and the SRA, all the pilot block farms showed an increase in productivity that ranged from 7.47 percent to 100 percent,” SBF focal person Aldwin Addun explained.

According to the SRA, pilot sugar block farms in Negros Island showed an average increase from 50.78 tons cane per hectare (TC/Ha) to 65.29 TC/Ha, or a 29-percent increase in farm productivity in the crop year 2013-2014 after being enrolled in the block farming program for a year.

This average 29-percent increase in productivity would translate to an estimated average increase of farmers' income by P39,815 per hectare, at 1.96 LKG/TC and a composite price of P1,400 per LKG-bag of raw sugar, the SRA said.

DAR expects to have the same result with the 44 farmer-beneficiaries of the Malasi Lake Producers Cooperative, the local cooperative in Cabagan, which will manage a 35-hectare sugar block farm. 

“The project will initially establish a nursery for high-yielding varieties of sugarcane and a techno-demo farm to showcase better technologies in sugarcane production,” Furigay explained.

Under the partnership, DAR will award sugar-block farm operators with heavy equipment like tractors for land preparation and dump trucks for hauling. The SRA, on the other hand, will provide technical trainings to farmers to further boost farm production.news reg 1 pix 2 aug 16 2017

Block farming is the consolidation of the management of small farms of less than five hectares into a bigger farm of at least 30 hectares for farm productivity improvement. Ownership of the lands, however, remains with agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Furigay and Cabagan Mayor Christopher Mamauag headed the sugarcane block farming launch at SANTA Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) in San Antonio, Cabagan last July 31. (Cristina B. Bautista)

Photo 1: DAR Assistant Regional Director Paramon Furigay and Municipal Mayor Christopher Mamauag cut the cermonial ribbon at the Sugarcane Block Farm Project Site in San Antonio, Cabagan.

Photo 2: DAR officials and staff together with the local government unit of Cabagan pose with the farmer beneficiaries during the Sugarcane Block Farm launch.

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