Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) Regional Executive Director (RED) Cameron Odsey reiterated the need for the region to be rice sufficient as a way to support the initiative of the national government to eliminate hunger in the country and ensure food security.
In a television interview with the regional government flagship station PTV Cordillera “Isyu @ Serbisyo“ public affairs program, Odsey explained that aside from increasing the production of rice in the region, the regional agriculture department will also have to increase the production of livestock and high-value crops.
“The directive of President Marcos, Jr. upon his assumption is for the agriculture department to again focus on the most important commodity which is rice which is why we need to increase our production, particularly in Kalinga, Apayao, and a little in Ifugao and Mountain Province that would support the need of the region,” Odsey said.
Aside from an increase in the production of rice, the DA-CAR will also focus on supporting the production of yellow corn as a source of feeds to be used as livestock input, including the continuing support to the production of high-value crops wherein 80 percent of the vegetable requirements of Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces comes from the Cordillera Administrative Region.
In his interview, RED also emphasized that the objective of the department is to make the farmers, particularly the poorer ones in the region, to be self-sufficient through the various programs and projects of DA-CAR.
As an example, DA-CAR allotted close to P180 million of direct funds for identified municipalities of Mountain Province as recipients of the different agriculture programs and projects of the department.
The said fund will be used for farm-to-market roads, support to the rice programs for the lowland areas of Paracelis and other highland areas for heirloom rice, livestock programs which include the pilot production of swine, corn programs in the lowland areas, and high-value crops and other development programs supporting highland vegetables balance the requirements for agriculture and watersheds including Arabica coffee production.
“The Department of Agriculture Cordillera will continue to support our farmers including other stakeholders located in the highland areas and the ongoing program being implemented in the lowland areas as the department is committed to attaining its objective of not leaving any farmer behind,” Odsey added.
For 2023, the budget allocated for the region is P1.8 billion to be divided among the six provinces and the City of Baguio for agriculture programs and projects of the DA.