In his speech, Panganiban, said the facility opened opportunities for major corn producers in southwest Mindanao to become globally competitive. “We want North Cotabato to become model of modern post harvest processing.”
Panganiban said the facility can process 332 metric tons of corn in a year, more than thrice the capacity of an ordinary corn sheller or processing plant .
The North Cotabato Provincial Government has allotted P5 million as equity. Governor Emmanuel Piñol assured corn farmers, especially in Kabacan, Carmen, Matalam and Kidapawan City, that they would no longer use the long stretch of the Cotabato-Davao highway or the Carmen-Bukidnon road in drying corn.
“This is a pathetic scene. I have been seeing this for so long a time, and I pity our farmers,” said Piñol.
Panganiban said the project might be replicated elsewhere in the province, one in Libungan town to cater to farmers from Pigcawayan, Midsayap, Banisilan, Aleosan, and Pikit, and the other in President Roxas to cater to farmers from hinterlands of Arakan, Antipas, Magpet, and President Roxas.
These areas are known producers of corn and other high value crops.
In 1998, North Cotabato was the fifth poorest province in southwest Mindanao. “But eight years later, we’re already among the richest provinces in the region, and is getting stronger in terms of agricultural production,” he said.
North Cotabato was ranked 29th this year in the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) list of most progressive provinces and having the least poverty incidence.
The inauguration of the facility was one of the highlights in this year’s 92nd foundation anniversary of the province. Also launched was the National Rubber Development Program of the province. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)