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DAR, SRA strengthen sugarcane production in N. Cotabato

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KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato,   June 30 (PIA)  --     Agrarian  reform  beneficiaries in  North Cotabato are  expected to  gain  more   from  sugarcane   production  with the implementation of the Sugarcane Block Farming Convergence Program  of the Department of  Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Sugar Regulation Administration (SRA), an  agrarian  reform  officer said  today.


Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Marion Abella said   the  DAR-SRA partnership  aims to  improve the farm productivity of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) beneficiaries engaged in  sugarcane production through block farming.

Under the  convergence initiative,  projected  cane yield  could  increase  from  average  of  49.8 tons  of per hectare to 75 tons per hectare.

“Sugarcane block farming encourages ARBs to group their farms into an aggregate area of 30 to 50 hectares which will make their production more cost-efficient and more profitable,”  Abella said.  

“What’s good with this block farming is that the ownership of each small farm is still maintained and respected, thus giving the landowners a share in the profit or earnings in using the land for sugarcane production,” she added.

Abella  noted that  DAR  has  already  established  to two sugarcane block farms in the province consisting of 30  hectares in   Barangay Palma Perez, M’lang   and 31 hectares in  Barangay Kibudoc, Matalam. 

“ARB sugarcane block planters are assisted and monitored by DAR under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) Program,”  she  said.

Abella added that DAR is supervising 30 hectares and 31 hectares of sugarcane block farms in M’lang and Matalam, respectively, which are also recipients of the sugarcane farm mechanization project under the ARCCESS Program.

Meanwhile, Emelita Mayol, Program Beneficiaries Development Division chief,  emphasized help for  the ARBS  will not be limited to improving  production process  but will also cover  training to help them become  entrepreneurs.

“DAR has the vision for farmers to upgrade their living condition through the provision of support services interventions such as the ARCCESS program,” Mayol said.

DAR, she explained   further,  provides  production  aid to   ARB organizations  through the Agricultural Production Credit Program (APCP), a transition credit program to prepare the latter to become credit conduits  and help address credit needs of their members.

Under the scheme, an ARB may avail of  loan  amounting to P50,000  per  hectare  for newly  planted sugarcane   or P40,000  per hectare  for ratoon sugarcane  as  recommended by the ARB  organization.

A  sugarcane  planter  can  avail of  loans  for 3 hectares.

In line with the program implementation,  DAR  gathered  at least  40  sugarcane farmers   from  M’lang and  Matalam  for  a    3-day Outreach Program of the Sugar Industry (OPSI) seminar on sugarcane production.

They  were also  oriented and enlightened on the challenges and implications of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) to the sugarcane industry by 2015.

SRA Chief Agriculturist Dina Fernandez said sugarcane is one of the important industries in the Philippine that could contribute around P76 billion to the economy annually.

“With the AFTA implementation by 2015, small-scale sugarcane planters especially those that are not farming profitably could hardly survive due to the influx of imported goods in the market,” she said.  “That’s why we are forming them into block farms to expedite the expansion of sugarcane areas and to coach them how to manage their farms more efficiently.”

AFTA lowers tariffs imposed on imported goods to five percent to even zero which will give farmers a hard time and tough competition from ASEAN competitors. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12  with ROrejudos-DAR North Cotabato)

Source:http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=1611404103299

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