“Noong una po, sabay-sabay kayong nagtatanim sa panahon na naka-timing na kayo’y makakaani nang tag-init. With this facility, puwede na po kayo ngayong [magtanim sa kahit anong bahagi ng taon] at mag-harvest kahit po tag-ulan,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso told farmers and other local officials during the inauguration.
The DA chief added that there’s never been a more profitable period for the business of growing corn – a key animal feed ingredient – than now, citing the export milestones and bright prospects facing the country’s livestock and poultry industry.
He cited the breakthrough shipment almost a year ago of chicken cut-up parts and whole Peking duck from Northern Mindanao to Japan, and the successful debut early this year of Bulacan-based Bounty Fresh Food Inc. in the South Korean market for its fresh chicken.
DA is also in the advanced stage of talks with its counterpart in the United Arab Emirates to allow Filipino companies deliver their pork and other meat products to ever-growing Dubai and other emirates, which host thousands of Filipino workers and other expatriates.
Aside from Alcala, other national and regional agriculture officials that graced the opening included Assistant Secretaries Edilberto De Luna of Field Operations Service and Leandro Gazmin of Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service, and Director Vilma Dimaculangan of DA Regional Field Unit 4-A. Local officials were also present, led by acting-Tayabas Mayor Wenda de Torres.
DA is projecting that as much as 12,000 farmers from across Quezon, and 3,000 more from nearby Batangas municipalities such as San Juan, will be served by the facility. If the need arises, additional drying facilities would be installed to meet the growth in clienteles, Alcala said.
The construction of the trading and processing center was financed through a counterparting scheme between DA and a local farmers’ group named Isa Akong Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (IAMFI) based in Tayabas. IAMFI will manage and operate it in an interim capacity for five years or until a federated farmers’ cooperative is organized and capacitated to do so.
Complementing corn expansion
A briefer prepared by DA RFU 4A showed that the Tayabas facility is one of the seven multi-commodity trading hubs called Agri-Pinoy Trading and Processing Centers that the Department hopes to open this year.
De Luna explained that the operations of the facility will actually complement the ongoing expansion of corn farms in Quezon and nearby areas in CALABARZON, and help bring the country to total self-sufficiency.
Per his estimates, areas planted to corn in the province nearly doubled over the last three years – from 12,000 hectares in 2010 to 23,000 hectares by the end of 2013. He said this was largely due to DA’s aggressive expansion program where farmers were provided access to support such as quality seeds and machineries, in tandem with farmers’ associations and LGUs.
De Luna heads DA’s national program both for rice and corn.
National corn output reached 7.37 million metric tons last year, making the country “practically self-sufficient” in the commodity and an exporter at some point through a trial shipment of corn silage to South Korea. (DA)