GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 August) – Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region has shipped 52.8 metric tons of premium rice in the last three months to various markets abroad through the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) rice export program.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA-12 regional executive director, said Friday the region’s total rice shipments comprise nearly half of the country’s premium rice exports since May that reached 106.55 metric tons (MT).
“These comprised colored, long grain and aromatic rice that were produced by our farmers in the region,” she said.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Last July 22, the Koronadal City-based Firmus Farm Services Providers’ Cooperative (FFSPSC) contributed 32 MT to the 45 MT of premium rice exported by the country to Singapore.
The shipment from the region comprised 15 MT of long grain rice produced by the group in South Cotabato’s upper valley area and 17 MT of Dinorado or aromatic rice from a farmers’ cooperative based in Banisilan and Arakan towns in North Cotabato.
On May 15 and June 16, the Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DBMPC) based in M’lang, North Cotabato shipped P5.8 MT of black, brown and red rice to Hong Kong.
The cooperative also exported 15 tons of organic black rice to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 6.
Datukan credited the DBMPC and FFSPSC for working closely with the agency’s rice export program.
“We’re happy that Region 12 has played a big part of the country’s successful rice exportation. We hope that more rice exports will come from our region,” she said in a statement.
The DA central office is currently targeting to export an additional 97 MT of premium rice before the end of the year to Russia, Italy, Middle East and the United States.
Owing to this, DA-12 officials said they are working on the expansion of production areas for premium rice in the region to cope with their growing demand in the export market.
Datukan said the agency is specifically giving special attention to its rice export program through the provision of necessary support to local farmers and private rice exporters.
The official said the recent shipment of premium rice products to other countries have encouraged farmers in the region to embark on planting special rice varieties.
The provinces of South and North Cotabato were earlier identified by DA-12 as viable expansion areas for premium rice production in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)