Cordillera is food sufficient: DA

BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) is food sufficient, allowing it to supply other regions.
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Dr. Cameron P. Odsey, in a meeting on Monday, said Cordillera’s extra production of agricultural products allows it to sell and supply the needs of other regions of the country.
Odsey said Cordillera supplies 80 percent of the highland vegetable requirements of Metro Manila.
From 2017-2019, he said the region posted a record harvest of highland vegetables or a three-year average of 253.33 percent production.
Cordillera also has surplus production of roots and tuber crops, as well as white corn.
He said the excess in agricultural production allows farmers and other residents to earn a living by selling fresh or processed products.
While the region is food sufficient, Odsey said that various challenges were encountered by the sector when the country went on a standstill due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in March.
Among the challenges include losses in the income of farmers due to unsold products as a result of the closure of hotels and restaurants and the cancellation of events like fiestas, parties, graduations, and others that use a high quantity of agricultural products.
In Odsey’s report during the town hall meeting with the theme: Usapang Ekonomiya ng Kordilyera sa Panahon ng Pandemya (Discussing the Cordillera’s economy amid the pandemic), he briefed the participants on the status of interventions and agriculture recovery programs of the department.
He said their department has provided soft loans to 9,104 farmers or a total of PHP227.6 million.
They have also released PHP80.88 million financial assistance to 16,177 rice farmers as of November 17.
The department also aided farmers thru the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” that helps farmers market their products at cheaper prices to the public.
Other assistance include the distribution of livestock and feeds to a total of 43,072 individual beneficiaries.
Odsey said the DA also provided some 36,341 hybrid and inbred rice seeds and fertilizers to farmers to allow them to continue producing rice to 45,171 hectares of farmland.
The department also gave cash and food subsidy for marginalized farmers and fisherfolk, Agri-Negosyo Loan Program (ANYO) loans to finance capital requirements of agri-fishery-based micro and small enterprises, Kapital access for young agripreneurs (KAYA) which are under the DA’s financial entrepreneurial assistance program.
He said the DA is bent on pursuing the country’s food security framework under a new normal scenario and help the agriculture stakeholders recover from the losses due to the pandemic.
“The goal is to survive, reboot, grow as part of the socio-economic recovery and resiliency,” Odsey said. **By Liza Agoot, PNA

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