ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/04 October) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will distribute 46 units of cassava grater and presser to the three island provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to boost cassava production in these areas.
The cassava graters and pressers, which were promised by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, will be distributed before the year ends to the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Edgardo Tabal, regional Agricultural Extension Program Division officer-in-charge, said the distribution of the equipment would help the cassava farmers in the three ARMM provinces increase their income.
Cassava is abundant in the three provinces as most of the farmers plant the crop as their main livelihood as well as for domestic consumption.
Cassava is widely grown in the three provinces among the various crops on alluvial, sloping and foothill areas, and some farmers intercrop it with coconut or with upland rice and corn.
Dr. Algerico Mariscal of the Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center in Leyte State University said that the ARMM has the biggest consumption of cassava in the country based on the data of the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.
ARMM is followed by Zamboanga Peninsula, Bicol, Northern Mindanao, Sorsogon, and the National Capital Region, Mariscal said.
Tabal said cassava is included as one of the country’s major crops and is also identified under the DA’s Food Staple and Stability Program as an alternative that will reduce rice importation.
Cassava can be processed into different food products with higher economic value.
Cassava is also used in the manufacture of industrial products like as a raw material in the production of ethanol aside from being used as food and feed ingredients.
Tabal said they recently conducted a Technology Training and Program Orientation on Cassava for Food Project in this city.
The topics included cassava varieties for food, cropping system, cultural management, postharvest practices, and cassava food preparations.
Aside from Mariscal, the training’s other resource speaker was Dr. Candido Damo, national cassava project leader of DA.
Damo said the DA has set a separate funding support to promote cassava and other root crops as major products. (MindaNews)