Upbeat agri initiatives for international market

By: Faith Marie Fullon (WVSU), PIA-Iloilo Intern

THE Iloilo Provincial Agriculture Office said P5million was set aside for agriculture development and production.

Elias Sandig, PAO assistant department head, said the budget allotted for 2017 is intended for crop production and related activities.

“The province for one, is stepping up its rice production through good agricultural practices in palay production,” Sandig said.

Sandig said the local price of rice is P12 to P41 per kilogram, while in neighboring rice producing countries, the price is P6 to P7 only.

“As the quantitative restriction is lifted, and agricultural products flood our markets, we tend to lose in this,” Sandig further said.

He said that a way to be at par with other countries in the international market is for PAO to promote organic agriculture as organic products, like black rice, aromatic cacao, organic  vegetables and soaps made from organic herbs.

The organic black rice is sold for at least $11 per kilogram in the international market and P75 in the local market.

“Even half the price would be good enough for the farmers,” Sandig said.

Organic production of aromatic cacao is also being promoted by PAO.

The usual variety of cacao in Iloilo is priced at P100-150 per kilo, while the aromatic variety can be sold at P600-P1,000 per kilogram.

For organic vegetables, the production of lettuce is promoted by PAO.

“This will open a new vista for agriculture production for our farmers not only in the uplands but in the lowlands as well,” Sandig said. (ESS/FMF)

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