MinDA to boost mango, organic rice sectors

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is now looking at boosting the agricultural productivity particularly mango and organic rice in Mindanao as among the top priority programs to be implemented next year.

Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, executive director MinDA said this is the focus of MinDA and apart from ramping up water supply projects, the agency will also assist the mango industry and organic rice sector.

Lopoz said they will be intensifying in implementing programs for the mango industry and organic rice to increase farmers’ income.

“These are the proejcts that we will be intensifying next year as this also related to poverty reduciton. Increasing farmers income will also go down to poverty reduction. Magkakabit-kabit po lahat,” she said.

Olie Dagala, MinDA investment promotions, international relations and area concerns office director on the context of the organic rice they will help rice farmers get back after the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which is being petitioned to be repealed due to the continued decline of the prices of palay.

“After the rice tariff law tinitingnan namin baka lalong mawawala ang mga farmers sa kanilang farms or they will convert their farms,” Dagala said.

Dagala is optimistic that there is a niche market for organic rice.

“Kaya lang walang tinatawag natin na economy of scale kasi pa pichi-pichi yung rice farmers, minsan mga ilang ektarya lang andito,” he said.

He said they will help the farmers on how to pass standards and how to penetrate the international market.

On the mango industry, he said they will help the growers to pass the maximum residue level (MRL), which is the highest level of pesticide residue that is legally tolerated in or on food.

“Ang mango ay matagal na natin yan kalakasan sa Mindanao. But then kanya-kanya sila at hindi sila as a solid industry so kailangan pa rin nila some help to facilitate and even to penerate the market. But still ang problema nila is on the standards,” Dagala said.

MinDA chairperson Secretary Manny Pinol has been mentioning in recent months about ramping up projects for water supply such as the solar powered irrigation to help boost the agricultural productivity in Mindanao.
Lopoz said these initiatives also aim to address poverty reduction, which is in relation to MinDA’s 4Ps initiative: People, Productivity, Poverty Reduction, and Peace.

“Sa Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan nandoon pa rin tayo sa corridor development and ensuring connectivity but still the overall frame goes down to the focus areas (4Ps),” she said.

Lopoz also announced that after a review done by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) the September and October results in terms of agriculture Mindanao has been maintaining its positions: northern Mindanao remains the top in terms of cattle and agricultural output; and the poultry products and major crops remain to be the same.

“We were a bit concerned with the start because we were hearing some reports from the national that there might be a big drop in agricultural output for the year but as of latest September and October PSA report it appears like the rest of country have been observing some decline but Mindanao at least is maintaining if not increasing a little bit in our agricultural production,” she said.