NorthCot Gov lays down plan for food security

His proposal, dubbed as Cotabato Food Security Plan, was formulated after meeting the municipal chief executives in the province last Tuesday.

The Cotabato Food Security Plan recommended that farmers be provided with certified seeds and fertilizer subsidy.

It also called for adequate national funding support for the improvement of river and communal irrigation systems, as well as national government intervention in the construction and establishment of drying and other post-harvest facilities in strategic locations.

The provincial summit was attended by Vice-Governor Manny Piñol and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, mayors, city and municipal agriculturists, provincial and municipal Agricultural and Fisheries Council chairmen.

Also present were officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in the province and representatives from the Department of Agriculture regional office.
The provincial board has adopted the plan and endorsed it for inclusion in the National Food Security Plan.  

The proposal, Gov. Sacdalan said, would ensure not only rice sufficiency in Cotabato, known as the ‘rice granary’ in central Mindanao, but also continue surplus production to help neighboring provinces.

“This will be our contribution to the national effort on food security,” he said.

“While current rice production levels in the province are sufficient to supply the food requirements of the people of Cotabato, we are committed to helping provide affordable food to other provinces as well,” he said.

Cotabato was the leading rice and corn producer in Region 12 in 2007, harvesting 323,150 metric tons of palay from 87,902 hectares, and 602,641 metric tons of corn from 142,419 hectares.

The province is ranked 9th among the country’s rice producers, and ranked 10th in hectarage.

The food security conference on Tuesday identified major issues affecting food production in the province. Among these were the high cost of production inputs particularly certified seeds and fertilizers, and inefficient irrigation facilities which prevent further increases in food production levels. The lack of post harvest facilities for drying and warehousing, and poor market transport system were also identified as major concerns.  (MindaNews)