Dept. Agriculture to help transform Negros Island areas into ‘salad bowls’

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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture will partner with local officials and farmers to transform semi-temperate areas in Negros Island as “vegetable salad bowls” in the Visayas that will provide the vegetable needs of the cities of San Carlos, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Cebu.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala recognized the vast potentials of two areas in Negros — the town of  Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, during his two-day visit last week.

“There is a large potential for organic vegetable production in these areas, as well as for upland rice, coffee, cacao, tea, dairy, and for small ruminants,” Alcala said.

Don Salvador Benedicto, a fourth class municipality located in the mountainous regions north east of Negros island, was established as a town in 1983. Its semi-temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 16 to 24 degrees Celcius has earned for itself the title as ‘summer capital’ of the island.

This has also enabled farmers in the area to raise so-called Benguet vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, sayote, potato and tomato.

In fact, town Mayor Laurence MJ Dela Cruz said a Korean firm has established a vegetable farm in the area to supply the needs of Korean restaurants in the Visayas.

To support the production of organic vegetables and other crops, Secretary Alcala said the DA through the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will construct an irrigation project next year that will put into productive use an additional 1,500 hectares of farmland.

Alcala said the DA will help Don Salvador Benedicto farmers to engage in the production of coffee, cacao and tea.

During a farmers’ forum in Don Salvador Benedicto, attended by 2,000 farmers, the DA chief gifted the town through a counterpart scheme two hand tractors, two threshers, five carabaos with farm implements, two flatbed dryers, hundreds of coffee and cacao seedlings, and 10 four-year college scholarship grants (inclusive of tuition, books and monthly stipends) to deserving high school students who will pursue college degrees in agriculture, fishery and other related courses.

Meanwhile, at Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, the DA will counterpart with the city government through Mayor Jimmy Jayme Clerigo and Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong to expand and modernize its existing farm trading center, provide a transport truck, establish a training center for upland rice, coffee and vegetables, and put up a P5-million tissue culture laboratory.

Canlaon City is at the eastern foot plain of Mt. Kanlaon. It is at the boundary dividing both provinces of Negros Island. Its bounded on the north by San Carlos City.

During a farmers forum in Canlaon, Secretary Alcala also committed to provide under a counterparting scheme five shallow tube wells, five carabaos with farm implements, two hand tractors, two flatbed dryers, and 10 ACEF scholarship grants.

Source: PhilStar.com

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