July 26, 2010 in Featured
By LEILANI ADRIANO
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Erratic weather conditions and global competition compel farmers to adjust to these phenomenal change to ensure good quality harvest.
Also, farmers end-up empty-handed due to the high cost of farm input.
Provincial Agriculturist Norma Lagmay said local government units should also strengthen their linkages in research and development and in the delivery of extension services to reach out to the farmers.
On rice production alone, Anita Benito of the Salukag Multi-purpose cooperative, a coop of local women in agriculture, reported that due to entry of cheap imported rice they have difficulty selling their produce.
“We don’t need imported rice,” Benito said during the July 9 provincial development council meeting attended by local chief executives, policy makers, public and non-government organizations at the Capitol auditorium. She said the province is self-sufficient in rice.
However, people prefer to buy imported rice instead of the locally-produced rice because the former is cheaper and better quality whole rice grains.
Even the National Food Authority represented by Tirso Mendoza reported the government agency’s urgent need for warehouses to keep rice in case farmers would sell their produce to them.
Ilocos Norte Imee R. Marcos who presided over the PDC meeting on Friday afternoon said importation has already been a “policy of the state” where local farmers should likewise improve their produce to meet international standards.
She suggested farmers should learn crop diversification and manage their production.
For example, the rice-coffee of Banna and the rice crackers of Batac City are unique food products originating from the province which she hopes other farmers could emulate.
The governor has encouraged farmers to shift to planting high value, early maturing crops while the government is trying to have a “quick fix” on the damage caused by previous typhoons in the province.
The Department of Agriculture suggests participatory action planning among concerned stakeholders to help address farmers’ concerns.# nordis.net