DA sees Quezon Province as emerging cacao hub in Luzon

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020   •   332

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) sees Quezon Province as an emerging powerhouse for cacao production in the country.

According to the agriculture department, cacao farming is being promoted in nine towns in the province. The department also inaugurated a cacao facility in Gumaca, Quezon where they launched a range of “Tangerine” chocolate products of the Four K Kakao Farm.

DA Secretary William Dar lauded the skills, diligence, and resilience of cacao farmers who are behind the success of the “Tangerine” brand.

“We must endeavor to make farming a profitable venture. Farmers should be open to and adopt innovative ideas and technologies. This is our vision—to modernize and industrialize Philippine agriculture,” he said.

Secretary Dar eyes expanding the Gumaca facility to include a coconut processing facility, and a banana tissue culture laboratory that will provide farmers free seedlings. AAC

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Hontiveros urges DA to focus on ramping up efforts vs ASF instead of price caps

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to focus its efforts on preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) instead of imposing price ceilings.

“The government should instead channel its efforts to bring credibility to testing, reporting, and responding to local outbreaks, among others. Hindi na nakakatulong ang ipinataw nilang price control (imposing price control is not helping), so let’s look deeper than the surface,” the senator said.

Hontiveros noted that the DA is already boosting local hog supply by distributing mother pigs and feeds to ASF-cleared areas, however, hog raisers still fear subsequent waves of infection.

Instead of repopulation plans, Hontiveros said the DA should also teach hog raisers preventive measures to protect livestock from ASF. She added that the price cap is making it almost impossible for vendors to recover from the “twindemic” of COVID-19 and ASF.

“Nakararanas tayo ng ‘Twindemic’ —pandemya ng COVID-19 at epidemya ng ASF. Kambal din ang dagok sa ating magbababoy na nalubog pa dahil sa itinakdang price ceiling (We are experiencing a ‘Twindemic’—COVID-19 pandemic and the ASF epidemic. Our hog raisers are also experiencing twin challenges due to the price ceiling),” the senator said.

Hontiveros also proposed to revoke the imposed price ceiling to help affected producers and retailers recover from their losses.

“Dumadaing na ang ating producers at retailers. Ilang eksperto na ang tumutol sa pagpapatupad ng price ceiling. Bawiin na sana ito para makabawi naman sa lugi ang ating mga kababayan (Our producers and retailers are complaining. Several experts have already expressed opposition to implementation of a price ceiling. It should be revoked for the sake of our fellowmen),” she added. AAC 

Soldiers aid injured NPA member in Quezon Province

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 11, 2021

A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was rescued by soldiers who were conducting clearing operations in Catanauan, Quezon Province.

Captain Jayrald Ternio, head of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division said the soldiers patrolling in Barangay San Roque, Agro heard a cry for help. The soldiers were conducting clearing operations after a recent encounter against NPA rebels.

Ternio said the soldiers found a wounded 24-year-old alias Marlon who was reportedly left behind by his companions.

Ganoon pala kapag wala nang halaga. Iiwanan na lang nila. Nangako silang babalikan ako, ilang araw na, hindi naman sila bumalik (That’s how it is for them once you lose value. They will leave you. They promised to return but it has been days),” according to alias Marlon.

Ternio also acknowledged the soldier’s efforts in aiding those in need regardless of which side they are fighting for.

Kahit sa gitna ng labanan ipinakita ng ating mga kasundaluhan ang propesyonalismo at pagrespeto sa karapatang pantao (Amid the battle our soldiers showed professionalism and respect for human rights),” he said. -AAC (with reports from Jennica Cruz)

DA to extend zero-interest loans to market vendors in Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it will extend zero-interest loans as operating capital to market vendors’ associations in Metro Manila public markets.

“This will enable them to buy pork carcasses directly from hog raisers and major agricultural commodities from farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs), and sell these at reasonable prices to consumers in Metro Manila,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

He added that the initiative seeks to institutionalize mutual partnership between retailers and FCAs and create a win-win situation benefiting producers, retailers and consumers alike. 

Dar appealed for the meat vendors’ cooperation to ease up tight pork supply and temper high pork prices in Metro Manila.

Under the market vendors’ financing program, market vendors’ associations (MVAs) may avail of up to P5 million as working capital at zero-interest and payable in three to five years. AAC

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