The provincial government of South Cotabato is mulling the development of soybean production as one of the keys to ensure food security in the area.
Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. bared on Tuesday plans to start the propagation of soybean in the province as an ingredient for feed production.
“We already produce copra meal, tiki-tiki and corn. What’s lacking is soya beans, so we can produce feeds for our livestock industry to create a cycle that will ensure food security for our livestock industry,” he said after the flag-raising ceremony at the provincial capitol here.
Tamayo said they are looking to develop at least 1,000 hectares for soybean cultivation in support of a possible feed meal production venture in the province.
He said that Department of Agriculture (DA) officials are coming to the province to discuss the development of soybean production in the area.
The DA, which is headed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has been working to establish consolidated farms as part of the administration’s efforts to ensure food security in the country, Tamayo noted.
Part of the strategy to ensure food security is to make sure the availability of grain storage facilities to farmers, he said.
Tamayo stressed the need to protect the livestock industry of the province for the area’s food security.
If the province can produce soybeans as an ingredient for animal feed meal, that will augur well to the province’s food security since the other feed components are available locally, the governor said.
He was referring to the possibility of producing commercial feed meal locally for the consumption of commercial and backyard livestock producers.
South Cotabato, including the chartered city of General Santos, is among the major swine producers in the country.
The South Cotabato Swine Producers Association, the biggest association of commercial swine farms in the area with at least 20 members, has a combined sow population of 55,000 and produces at least 45,000 heads of hogs a month.
Based on the 2020 chicken inventory in Soccsksargen issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority, South Cotabato recorded the highest stocks at 58.7 percent or 5.68 million birds, followed by North Cotabato at 27 percent (2.61 million birds), Sarangani at 7.9 percent (767,920 birds) and Sultan Kudarat at 6.4 percent (620,410 birds).
Soybean, a rich source of plant-based protein, is a major ingredient in animal feed meal formulation worldwide.
The Philippines is a net importer of soybean for food and feed requirements, mainly sourcing supplies from the United States. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)