KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/23 May)—The value of corn produced in Region 12 last year reached a staggering P15.6 billion, a regional Department of Agriculture (DA) official said.
Zaldy Boloron, DA-12 corn program coordinator, said in the 130-page “Regional Corn Roadmap CY (Calendar Year) 2012 to 2017” presentation that corn production volume in the four-province, five-city region last year was 1.20 million metric tons (MT), up 2.63 percent from 2011’s 1.2 million MT.
“[The strong corn production performance] was due to the wide area suitable for corn production, availability of high quality seeds and access to technology,” Boloron said.
Land planted to corn last year in Region 12, also called the Soccsksargen region, was 429,319 hectares (ha), he noted.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
For 2011, the value of corn produced in Region, at P13 per kilo average price, would have amounted to P15.22 billion.
Region 12’s corn production in 2012 makes it the third biggest corn producer in the country, after Cagayan Valley’s 7.4 million MT and Northern Mindanao’s 1.23 million MT.
Four of Mindanao’s six regions—Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula—were among the top 10 corn producing regions in the country last year.
In Region 12, South Cotabato was the largest corn producer with 435,981 in 2012 followed by North Cotabato with 385,428, Sultan Kudarat with 234,393 and Sarangani with 145,479.
In 2011, they respectively produced 428,718, 379,947, 226,940 and 134,949.
The average yield per hectare in the region was pegged at 2.8 MT last year.
South Cotabato has at least 144,200 ha for corn production; North Cotabato, 129,908; Sultan Kudarat, 84,328; and Sarangani, 70,883.
Corn from Region 12 is traded to Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Manila, Boloron said.
For this year, the DA regional office targets corn production to reach 1.24 million MT and 1.29 million in 2014.
Among the challenges for the region’s corn farming in the last few years were the occurrence of pests and diseases, land and crop conversion, erratic weather condition, natural and man-made calamities and peace and order situation, Boloron said.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is known to maintain forces in Region 12, particularly in North Cotabato, which is contiguous to Maguindanao.
Maguindanao, an MILF bailiwick, is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
However, clashes between government and MILF forces had subsided in the last few years, with the last major war between government and MILF fighters erupting in 2008 due to the botched signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.
Last year, the government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which would pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro that would replace the ARMM in 2016. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)