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DTI seeks Malaysia assistance in halal food development By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am 1 2 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has tapped the help of its Southeast Asian neighbor Malaysia to develop its own halal industry. Following the recent Presidential visit in Malaysia, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said he met with key business leaders and government officials there in which areas for increased collaboration were discussed. “Malaysia is being eyed as an active partner in exploring more opportunities for the halal industry the region,” Lopez said. With an estimated $3 trillion global halal market, Lopez said the Philippines is eyeing heightened cooperation with Malaysia in increasing trade activities in the region for the industry. DTI, as the lead agency of the newly-formed Philippine Halal Board, plans to increase the awareness of the availability quality and integrity of halal products in the Philippines. Halal is used in relation to food and other consumer goods that have undergone certification as permissible for consumption and use by Muslims. “This is a great opportunity to learn first-hand from businesses how our governments can further support those looking to export and how to continue to attract investment from Malaysia to the Philippines,” Lopez said. The DTI said Malaysia and the Philippines share a long history of cultural and diplomatic relations. With the recent presidential visit to Malaysia, the agency said it expects bulk of investments from Malaysia in the coming months. Last year, Malaysia ranked as the country’s 10th major trading partner, 11th export market, and eight import supplier. Total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $4.3 billion.

Government promotes rice husk as alternative energy source By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 15 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Agriculture wastes particularly rice husks are now being developed as a source of energy to improve the local sector’s rice mechanization and post-production operations, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said. The Department of Agriculture-attached agency has developed a rice husk gasifier engine system that converts biomass into different applications such as thermal (cooking, baking drying, and steam generation), mechanical (irrigation pump and rice mill), and electrical power (lighting and power supply infrastructures). “A kilo of rice husk basically contains about 3,000 kilocalories of heat energy and can provide sufficient amount of clean gaseous fuel when gasified,” PhilRice engineer Eden Gagelonia said. A rice husk is the outermost layer of the paddy grain that is separated from the rice grains during the milling process. Around 20 percent of paddy weight is husk and rice production in the Philippines produces an average two million metric tons of husk annually. Locally, rice husks are sold at P1.80 per kilogram and these are dumped at the back of rice mills or burned on road sides. “Converting this available biomass waste into energy by gasification can provide about 25 PJ (petajoule) of energy which can be utilized for various heat and power applications, especially in rice farming and rural-based operations,” she said. Rice biomass also helps in the restoration of the soil and contributes to carbon sequestration for greenhouse gas mitigation. Gasifiers also provide clean energy for domestic and cottage industry. PhilRice said wastes produced by the gasifier can be used by farmers as soil conditioner and as element for organic fertilizer. The agency also urged the government to formulate policies for the adoption and adaptation of the developed technologies in the local farm sector to strengthen the application of decentralized system of biomass energy.‐promotes‐rice‐husk‐ alternative‐energy‐source

BPI opens doors to small local farmers By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - As growing poverty and a lack of food security threaten the country, Ayala-led BPI Foundation is opening up its coffers to more small-holder farmers to help spur the development of the local agriculture sector. “If we look at the farm community sector, they remain to be at lowest of the low when in fact they should be at the center because they are key to food security,” BPI Foundation SVP and executive director Fidelina Corcuera said. Data showed that farmers belong to the poorest of the country’s basic sectors, with one of the highest poverty incidences at 38.3 percent. “We should bring back the importance of farmers because the issue at hand is very grave and we have to come up with something that’s doable,” she added. Bank of the Philippine Islands SVP Junie Veloso noted that while lending to smallholders continues to increase, the sector’s overall contribution to the economy has declined in the past years. BPI alone has lent around P150 billion over the past 15 years. Approximately 25 percent of the bank’s loanable fund is allotted for agriculture. PinoyME Foundation president and CEO Danilo Songco said smallholder farmers have little chance of progressing because they lack the economies of scale to penetrate the larger and more mainstream market as they tend to fall prey to traders who often take advantage. “The key to it is for farms to form cooperatives so they can gain leverage, they can dictate better pricing for their produce and get cheaper inputs. As long as they need money, we will give it as long as we see them as bankable,” Veloso explained. BPI is one of the few private banks that has invested in the agriculture sector for 40 years now. “We design a product so that we can collect from the borrower when he has the money. We design products that suit the cashflows of the farmers,” he said. Currently, BPI has 800 to 900 agriculture borrowers and only 10 percent of which are smallholders. The bank is also exploring the adoption of a crop insurance program but Veloso said the plan is still a work in progress.

Sustainable food in the future through technology By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 18 googleplus0 0

Syngenta steps up r&d efforts RAIPUR, India – With world population projected to grow by a third or two billion by 2050, the challenge of feeding more mouths lies on agriculturally rich countries, including the Philippines, amid volatile weather conditions, declining farm output, and dwindling numbers of farmers. Swiss agri-business and biotechnology giant Syngenta is beefing up efforts to bring greater food security in an environmentally sustainable way through the creation of worldwide step change in farm productivity. And this move goes across all regions particularly in the Asia-Pacific where major agricultural goods are being produced but the increasing problems of labor, climate change, crop quality and lack of support to smallholder farmers remain unsolved. The Philippines itself is no exception. Syngenta continues to invest a portion of its annual $1.4 billion budget for research and development in the Philippines through its rice breeding facility in General Santos City and various field trials across the country to give knowledge to farmers on how to increase yields through biotechnology. “We need to have centers of excellence in terms of breeding and research and to develop multisite locations which allow us to evaluate the seeds if they work well here as they do in other countries,” said Tina Lawton, Syngenta Asia Pacific regional director. “We always invest in upgrading the facility. It’s more of making sure that the team is wellequipped with skills sets to be able to do their jobs efficiently,” she added.

The breeding facility in Mindanao is among the main facilities for the whole Asia-Pacific, aside from the ones in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and China. While the notion of achieving rice self-sufficiency in the Philippines has been a policy of almost all past administrations, the government has made public its plan to further strengthen hybridization as it aims to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2019. “Consumer acceptance would be a big factor to the move towards hybridization in the Philippines and that’s gonna be important but that will be the key. Hybrid rice need to be accepted by the market,” said Andrew McConville, Syngenta Asia Pacific Corporate Affairs head. The Department of Agriculture has already invested P131 million in seeds to intensify hybrid rice expansion in Mindanao in line with efforts to increase farmers’ income and alleviate poverty. The agency also plans to expand hybrid rice area to 600,000 to 700,000 hectares next year and as much as one million by 2020 from the current 400,000 hectares. “Our target is self-sufficiency that we would like to achieve through hybrid rice. We want to have farmers who can have twice the production from what they harvest now,” DA senior technical adviser Santiago Obien said. With hybrid rice, farmers can harvest higher yields of nine to ten metric tons (MT) per hectare from the current four MT per hectare. “As long as the government is clear with what its framework and knows what it’s trying to achieve, then we will work with the government to achieve their objectives,” McConville said. McConville also underscored the importance of partnership that roots well in technology and knowledge and which goes in an end-to-end value chain approach. “Partnership makes sense if you’re growing the overall size of the pie as it will benefit everyone. Farmers earn more and the government also earns additional revenues,” he said. Another problem in most countries, particularly in the Philippines, is labor where less and less individuals are into farming. Studies project that four years from now, 60 percent of the country’s population will leave rural areas to settle in cities. “That’s why we want to empower more smallholders and increase average productivity of the world’s major crops by 20 percent without using more land, water and other inputs,” Lawton said.

Empowering people in rural economies across the globe could produce an extra $2 trillion of yearly output by 2030, Syngenta said. Globally, Syngenta aims to grow more crops while using less water and fewer products; cope with volatile weather, flood and drought; meet rising demand for more food of higher quality; and encourage more farmers to adopt new technologies. The agriculture company aims to help improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Syngenta is also committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities in over 90 countries it is involved with. In Asia Pacific alone, Syngenta’s footprint extends to 15 countries, with combined sales of $1.9 billion last year. As of the third quarter, the region recorded a 22 percent growth in sales due to the end of El Niùo phenomenon and a better monsoon. Demand for crop protection products was strong, particularly for fungicides in ASEAN and insecticides in South Asia. Seeds sales were also driven by high demand for conventional corn in South Asia and for GM hybrids in the Philippines. Founded in 2000, Syngenta came from the agricultural divisions of Novartis and AstraZeneca. It is publicly listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

Landbank income flat in 9 months By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - State-run Land Bank of the Philippines booked a flat net income for the first nine months, but it remained on track to meeting its target this year under a new management. In a statement, the government lender reported a net income of P10.3 billion as of September, nearly steady from P10.27 billion in the same period a year ago. Compared to its target however, Landbank beat its P10.13-billion goal for the nine-month period. For the entire 2016, the goal was pegged at P13.5 billion. Alex Buenaventura, the bank’s new president and chief executive officer who took over Nov. 11, said the latest figures showed Landbank is in a “good position” to expand its services to farmers and fishers. Lending to micro, small and medium enterprises would likewise be improved, he said. “This will be our priority moving forward, as we strive to keep the balance of maintaining our financial viability and fulfilling our development mandate,” Buenaventura said. Landbank’s latest performance included the first three months of the Duterte administration, which took over June 30. Buenaventura assumed the post from officer-in-charge Andres Sarmiento who was appointed after the lender’s board removed Gilda Pico after 10 years as president. According to the bank, total assets grew 17 percent to P1.3 trillion from P1.1 trillion during the January to September period “buoyed by growth in loans and investments.” Broken down, total investments surged 55 percent to P471.9 billion, while gross loans went up nine percent to P481.9 billion. Data on revenues and expenditures were not provided. Meanwhile, deposits rose 18 percent year-on-year to breach the trillion-peso mark at P1.2 trillion from P991.3 billion. Capital was 18-percent higher at P91.1 billion. Upon taking over, the Duterte government scrapped a plan to merge Landbank with another state lender, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), with the former as surviving entity.

The plan would have created the country’s second biggest bank in asset terms, but Finance Secretary and Landbank chair Carlos Dominguez said Landbank and DBP have different mandates. As of September, Landbank has 365 branches, 27 other banking offices and 1,607 automated teller machines nationwide.

Marce to exit PAR today By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0 MANILA, Philippines - Tropical Storm Marce (international name Tokage) will exit the Philippine area of responsibility this morning as it intensified further over the West Philippine Sea, the state weather bureau said. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) lifted all storm warning signals in the country yesterday as the weather system continued to move away from the country. However, some areas are still expected to experience rainy weather due to the effects of the storm. “Residents over the provinces of Isabela, Aurora and Quezon are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides due to moderate to heavy rains enhanced by Tropical Storm Marce,” said PAGASA. “Light to moderate rains is expected over Metro Manila and the rest of Northern and Central Luzon,” it added. As of 10 a.m. yesterday, Marce was estimated to be at 335 kilometers west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. It packs maximum sustained winds of up to 75 km per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 95 kph. It is forecast to move northwest at 15 kph, and will be at 400 km west of Iba, Zambales outside the Philippine area of responsibility this morning. PAGASA said sea travel is still risky over the northern and eastern seaboards of Northern Luzon and the seaboards of Central Luzon and the western seaboard of Southern Luzon. “Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms will prevail over Mindanao,” said the weather bureau. “Moderate to strong winds blowing from the east to northeast will prevail over Luzon and coming from the southwest to southeast over the rest of the country with moderate to rough seas,” it added. – With Rainier Allan Ronda‐exit‐par‐today  

Legarda rallies LGUs behind climate action By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:00 PM November 26, 2016 Sen. Loren Legarda has lauded local government units (LGUs) that have taken steps towards climate action as she rallied other towns and cities to follow suit, emphasizing their crucial role in building disaster-resilient communities. At the inaugural Climate-Adaptive and Disaster-Resilient (CLAD) Awards for Cities and Municipalities held Friday, Legarda called on local governments to take on a more active role in serving as “climate champions” in their locales, being the frontliners in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change. She noted “technological, socioeoconomic and global challenges” in the 21st century that “dramatically alter the way we live in our communities,” with quality of life “at stake.” “It is the responsibility of the government, especially local government units (LGUs), to understand the challenges and to take proactive measures that will optimize our nation’s future — to plan, build and support sustainable communities,” Legarda said in her speech at Friday’s awards. READ: Legarda renews call for urgent climate action “It is critical that the increased attention, interest, and sense of urgency in responding to the challenges posed by climate change and disaster risks are translated to local actions that effectively reduce disaster vulnerability,” said Legarda, the foremost climate action advocate at the Senate and a United Nations Global Champion for Resilience. She lauded the roster of 10 pioneering CLAD awardees for “implementing innovative strategies” to manage and adapt to the effects of climate change, saying they would serve as a benchmark for others to emulate. READ: PH targets full compliance with Climate Change Act by 2017 The rites came just weeks after the historic United Nations climate pact came into force, binding the international community to the commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to contain global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. An increase in excess would mean the warming of the Earth would be irreversible. “You will be our models for resilience. We should tell and retell your success stories for other local communities to emulate,” said Legarda, who organized the awards with the Climate Change Commission.

“You will be climate champions who will share your experiences with other LGUs so they too will make their cities and municipalities climate and disaster-resilient,” she said. She said the awardees would serve to prod other cities and towns “to increase investments in disaster risk reduction, conduct and share risk assessments, establish effective and efficient early warning systems, and protect ecosystems.” “We will urge local leaders to build homes, schools, and hospitals that are safe and secure amidst natural hazards; design and construct roads, bridges and other infrastructure that help spur economic growth but with disaster risk reduction in mind,” she said. This year’s CLAD awardees are: Canaman, Camarines Sur; Carmona, Cavite; Dumangas, Iloilo; Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur; Legazpi, Albay; Malolos, Bulacan; New Lucena, Iloilo; Palompon, Leyte; Sorsogon City, Sorsogon; and Tublay, Benguet. The winners each received P500,000. They were selected for oustanding sustainability projects such as crop and farming initiatives, reforestation and mangrove growing, solid waste management, rainwater catchment, and health and psycho-social interventions on disaster-related trauma.

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Good neighbor policy in a globalizing world Published November 26, 2016, 10:00 PM 

By Edgardo J. Angara FORMER SENATOR

Last week, President Duterte sat down with his “idol” Russian President Vladimir Putin in Lima, Peru, on the sidelines of the annual leaders’ meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). During their warm and friendly meeting, Putin committed to Duterte that Russia could import up to US$2.5 billion (P124.17 billion) worth of Philippine agricultural products, including fruits and vegetables. This is a huge volume, considering Philippine exports to Russia only amount to around US$46 million (P2.28 billion) a year on average. Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez told the media that nothing was specified in terms of which products were going to be exported, although the Philippines already sends to Russia bananas, mangoes, desiccated coconut, and carrageenan. Breaking into new markets for our products is always a welcome development. But in fact, I find it highly doubtful that we currently have the capacity and competitiveness to quickly ramp up production by at least 54 times and suddenly supply at the volumes implied by Russia’s committed investment. Shortages in key farm products also loom for 2017, as the Department of Agriculture (DA) recently cancelled all import permits for meat and plant products — except for rice and corn — to curb rampant technical smuggling. If we can’t even fill our local production, it’s pollyannaish to try supplying Russian demand. This is not to say better relations between the Philippines and Russia should not be pursued. I can see positive benefits created if Moscow and Manila traded more and fostered better working diplomacy. For one, Russian tourists make good guests as they stay in the country longer than the average tourist. The first concrete step is to have a bilateral civil agreement to establish a direct Vladivostok-Manila flight.

But moves towards closer Philippine-Russian trade ties should not be at the expense of existing trade relations. Consider our duty free trade with the European Union (EU), under its General Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). The Philippines’ bid to be included in the GSP+ was approved in December, 2014, making us the only one in ASEAN enjoying the privilege. Some 6,200 products — including our fruits, coconut oil, fish, and textiles — are now exported to EU countries at zero tariff. During the first year of the scheme, Philippine exports to the EU were estimated to have increased by up to P32.5 billion. That translated to as much as 267,000 jobs in the provinces, given the scheme’s preference for marine, fisheries, and agricultural products and for SMEs. According to a January, 2016, European Commission report, Philippine exports to the EU under GSP+ jumped by 27 percent for the first six months of 2015 (H1), amounting to around €743 million (P39.2 billion) — exceeding initial estimates. The largest increases in agricultural products came from animal products (157 percent), prepared foodstuffs (72 percent), and wood and wood charcoal (199 percent). In fact, by September, the Philippines became the EU’s number one supplier of “tuna prepared as sardines.” The same European Commission report also showed that of the Philippines’ €1.084-billion worth of GSP+ eligible exports to the EU measured in the same period (H1 2015), only €681 million were entered under the scheme — resulting in a 62.8 percent utilization rate. In a way, that means — even with the significant increases in exports — we were only making use of 62.8 percent of preferential duty-free entry. It is good national policy to develop new markets for our products or even woo investments and tourism from the largely untested but immensely promising Russian market. But to repeat, such drive should not prompt us to ignore to develop safe and sure markets. The Philippines may be undergoing a geopolitical or even an ideological shift in its foreign policy, moving closer to countries like China and Russia. This should not mean tested allies and longtime trading partners should be abandoned. In principle, good relations should be cultivated with as many countries as possible. At the same time, our country needs to trade and invite foreign investments in order to close the poverty and income inequality gap in our country.

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BPI banks on inclusive rural enterprise dev’t Published November 26, 2016, 10:01 PM 

By Madelaine B. Miraflor Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) wants to tap opportunities in the agriculture sector, which could grow through rural enterprise development and value chain financing. BPI Foundation, Inc. on Thursday has brought together key players in the agricultural value chain to co-create and support inclusive and sustainable plans for implementation at the first ever AgriFinancing Summit 2016. “The AgriFinancing Summit is an excellent venue for key players from both the public and private sectors to identify a more lasting path out of poverty for small-scale farmers by using the method of design-thinking to prototype viable solutions that address barriers and impediments as well as manage risks and unlock capital of the private commercial banks for this unbanked sector,” said BPI Foundation Executive Director Fidelina Corcuera. Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the small scale farmers belong to the poorest of the country’s basic sectors, posting one of the highest poverty incidences at 38.3 percent. BPI Foundation has partnered with two organizations that work with two key segments towards rural enterprise development to better grasp the risks and costs the different stakeholders face. Together, BPI Foundation, PinoyME, and Grow Asia also identified mitigating measures agriculture stakeholders can collaborate on as well as the institutional and policy reforms and support they needed from both the government and the banking sector. PinoyME and its network of partners work with marginalized farmer groups, trains them in agroentrepreneurship, and provides assistance in commercializing their enterprises by forming production clusters and connecting them to the formal market economy. Grow Asia, on the other hand, works with private companies, along with governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to help smallholder farmers improve their production and livelihood through access to information, knowledge, markets and finance. The organization is supported by both multinational and local companies that can help facilitate market access for the yield of smallholder farmers. “By forging these partnerships, BPI Foundation aims for the different sectors to have a more holistic view and approach on how they can improve the enabling environment for rural enterprise development and value chain financing,” BPI said.‐banks‐on‐inclusive‐rural‐enterprise‐devt/

Filipino firms invited to invest in Myanmar’s agricultural sector Published November 26, 2016, 10:00 PM 

By Madelaine B. Miraflor Filipino firms were invited by a Myanmar agriculture magnate to explore potential investment opportunities in the formerly centrally planned, military-ruled economy. Myanmar’s Yoma Strategic Holdings Co. Ltd (YSHCL) Agriculture Group Chairman Tin Htut Oo assured Filipino companies that starting next year, Myanmar will be a highly favorable investment destination in Asia with its new aggressive market-oriented foreign policy. A new law in Myanmar now allows companies to be 100-percent foreign owned Speaking as an awardee of the D.L.Umali Award of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Oo said this policy will already have a set of implementing rules by 2017. Oo, who has already been globally recognized for his contribution to Myanmar’s agriculture sector, specifically invited Filipino investors to look at prospects of rice farming in Myanmar. “Philippines is a rice importing country. Myanmar is a rice surplus country. For Filipino entrepreneurs, why not come to Myanmar and invest? You grow it [in Myanmar]. We buy it. We mill it, and we export it to the Philippines,” Oo said. “Myanmar already liberalized all export of agricultural commodities . We’re more liberalized compared to Vietnam. Myanmar has private companies exporting rice. The government’s role role is to make the environment conducive to investors. The new law creates a level playing field [for private and public players,” he added. He said that investors can also invest in coconut and banana plantation in his country. “You are successful in coconut [in which] you have downstream businesses. We’re not utilizing coconut as much as the Philippines. It’s not a commercial crop. Filipino entrepreneurs can turn our industry [into a commercial one],” he further said. SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said in the same briefing that both Myanmar and the Philippines can have partnerships that can take advantage of the prevailing ASEAN economic integration.‐firms‐invited‐to‐invest‐in‐myanmars‐agricultural‐ sector/

Don’t pass death penalty bill, group tells House posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Vito Barcelo The religious group Council of the Laity of the Philippines has urged Congress not to pass the death penalty being proposed recently by some lawmakers, saying it has no place in a civilized society. CLP national president Zenaida Capistrano said capital punishment was abolished in 1987 because it does not work and “there is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact.” “Its abolition clearly reveals a strong message that it has no place in our society, where preservation and respect for human life is of utmost importance,” Capistrano said in a statement. The group made the appeal as the House of Representatives recently started deliberations on a proposed measure that seeks to restore the death penalty, a move supported by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the House is keen on passing the bill before it adjourns for the Christmas break. The CLP said the death penalty is “discriminatory” because poor people have no access to legal resources to defend themselves. “Further, it breaks essential human rights such as the right to life,” Capistrano explained. “We, at the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, appeal to our lawmakers to reject and oppose the restoration of the death penalty. We also call on our God-fearing countrymen to work for the respect and protection of human life,” she added.‐main‐stories/top‐stories/222509/don‐t‐pass‐death‐penalty‐ bill‐group‐tells‐house.html          

Hybrid rice leads to bumper crop in Iloilo posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Manila Standard Thanks to hybrid rice seeds, the rice harvest in Iloilo soared in this year’s wet season, with some farmers yielding over 10 metric tons per hectare, provincial agricultural officials said. With 10,000 hectares now “organically grown” on hybrid rice, the yield average of 12 farmers using SL-8H seeds rose to 10.71 metric tons per hectare, they added. Despite the severe El Niño drought, Iloilo remains a rice surplus province, especially as farmers ventured into SL-8H hybrid rice that sent their yield average to 4.09 MT per hectare. This is an overall increase of nearly one MT (0.86) per hectare compared to the 2015 average of 3.23 per hectare, based on Philippine Statistics Authority data, for the entire Iloilo, according to Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Elias V. Sandig Jr. The trend to plant hybrid rice in Iloilo rose as a farmer registered a high yield last year. “In 2015, Marilyn Duco of Patlad, Dumangas obtained an average yield equivalent to 14.51 MT per hectare from SL-8H hybrid seeds at 14 percent moisture content,” said Sandig. Iloilo farmers have also adopted what is realized now as a superior fertilization technique—Crop Stand Fertilizer Management. “An honest to goodness campaign was made to accept SL-8H with instruction to adopt Crop Stand Fertilizer Management. A total of 10,000 hectares (of hybrid area) was realized,” said Sandig.Applying fertilizer based on crop stand means that fertilizer is applied in reduced amounts. It is applied only when the color of rice plant is light yellow, signifying a need for fertilizer. “To date, the 12 top SL-8H farmers had an average production of 10.71 MT per hectare equivalent to 9.713 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content,“ said Sandig. Iloilo farmer Teresita S. Setiar of Leganes reaped the highest yield equivalent 17.921 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content. She used organic fertilizers with reduced artificial fertilizer, Sandig added. “Suffice to say that it is only in Iloilo where hybrid rice is grown organically,” he said. With the hybrid rice, those who were able to plant only once a year are now able to harvest twice as much. “Some areas are just rainfed, so farmers don’t plant during the dry season. But with their high yield—double from hybrid rice—it’s as good as they would have planted two times a year,” said Rich Recoter, SLAC hybrid rice specialist.

From his rain-fed 6,000-square meter farm, Andres Corras Jr. got this last wet season an equivalent of an average of 9.68 MT per hectare. Allan Tabefranca got a yield of 8.5 tons per hectare from 8,000 square meters. He is in an irrigated area and even used direct seeding, which means he had lesser cost than if he transplanted seeds. “Our campaign is that using the same technology of rice planting, you just change the seed, but your expense is the same. The seed is for free, so they get a higher income. Because of this, they have been convinced to go into hybrid,” said Iloilo Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso T. Toledo.With proper fertilization management, hybrid rice in irrigated areas in Iloilo as of October 2016 produced 4.77 MT per hectare. This is higher by 1.28 MT compared to the July to September 2016 inbred average yield of 3.491 MT per hectare. Farmers have traditionally avoided the use of hybrid rice in the wet season due to bacterial leaf blight infestation or BLB. But fertilization based on crop stand has apparently eliminated this problem. “It’s the first time for many farmers to plant hybrid in the wet season,” said Geron E. Magbanua, also of the Iloilo provincial agriculture office. ”And (impressively), there are farmers who harvested 10 tons (per hectare) as shown by the contest (Palayabangan introduced by the Philippine Rice Research Institute).” One Ilonggo farmer, Ramon Dagohoy Jr. got 13.95 MT per hectare from his irrigated, transplanted SL-8H. “From his 2.2-hectare area, he got a total of 615 cavans at 47 kilos per bag summing up to 279 bags (13.95MT) per hectare,” said Magbanua.Despite these increased yields, Iloilo’s rice production is expected to reach only 700,000 MT for 2016 owing to the impact of El Niño during the first semester of the year.Without hybrid rice, production would have been even lower for Iloilo. Hybrid rice area in Iloilo in 2015 was just at 4,500 hectares.Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority, Iloilo produced 877,076 MT of rice in 2015 with an average of 3.23 MT per hectare. It ranks fifth in rice production, after Nueva Ecija (1.580,620 MT), Isabela (1,256,390 MT), Pangasinan (1,081,157 MT) and Cagayan (884,334 MT). The province has a total of 135,964 hectares of ricelands consisting of 48,860 hectares of irrigated ricelands, 85,779 hectares of rainfed ricelands and 1,325 uplands devoted to rice, tilled by 110,000 farmers.‐provinces/222523/hybrid‐rice‐leads‐to‐bumper‐crop‐in‐ iloilo.html    

783 farmers from five Leyte towns gain parcels of land posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Manila Standard BARUGO, Leyte—About 783 farmers from five Leyte towns became landowners when Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano distributed 1,058 certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) recently at the Apostol Gymnasium here. The CLOAs covered a combined area of 1,427.5 hectares of farmlands in the towns of Barugo, Alangalang, San Miguel, Carigara and Jaro. Lolita Candaza, one of the beneficiaries, said with the award they could now avail of the various assistances extended by the different local and international non-government organizations to Typhoon “Yolanda” survivors.Mariano was assisted by Land Registration Authority Deputy Administrator Robert Leretana, Mayor Maria Rosario Avestruz, Department of Agrarian Reform Regional Director Sheila Enciso, DAR Assistant Regional Directors Ma. Fe Malinao and Ismael Aya-ay, Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla, and Riena Reyes, Project Coordinator of Rights Inc. an NGO that has been assisting the farmers. According to Badilla, San Miguel has the most number of beneficiaries at 245 with 321 CLOAs covering 233 hectares. Barugo has 222 for 398 CLOAs covering 280.1 hectares; Jaro has 147 for 230 CLOAs covering 684.6 hectares; Carigara has 123 for 102 CLOAs covering 129 hectares; and Alangalang has 46 beneficiaries of the 7 CLOAs covering 100.6 hectares. Mariano stressed that it is DAR’s goal to free farm workers from “the bondage of the soil.” He also announced that the department is creating a national LAD (land acquisition and distribution) action team that will help strategize and hasten the land distribution process nationwide. DAR is also reconstituting CLOAs that were destroyed when the Registry of Deeds office in Palo burned down in the ‘90s. Enciso thanked the LRA for cutting the requirements in the registration of CLOAs, resulting in the release of land titles pending at the ROD.For the beneficiaries to understand, Leretana explained that in the registration of an original certificate of title (OCT) as in the case of these CLOAs, tax declaration is required as proof of ownership.But since ownership has already passed thru several persons, it was difficult then to present a tax declaration especially that the present owner has to pay unpaid real property tax, if ever the previous owners failed to pay them before they could be issued with the document. Leretana said this was the reason why they decided to take it out from the requirements.‐provinces/222524/783‐farmers‐from‐five‐leyte‐towns‐gain‐ parcels‐of‐land.html

In search of better quality coffee posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Dexter A. See BAGUIO CITY—A local coffee industry player pointed out the importance of quality planting materials coupled with the adoption of proper farming, storage and processing techniques to be able to produce quality coffee beans that command higher buying prices in the local and international markets. Dr. Melvin Hipol, the founder of the Kape Ti Uma Inc., observed that coffee plantations in most parts of Benguet are not properly maintained that results in the infestation of coffee plants and poor quality coffee beans that are bought at lower prices in the market. “We learned that there were some agencies who had been encouraging farmers to shift to coffee production, but when harvest time came, the personnel could no longer be contacted to help them market their produce,” Hipol said. “Thus, the farmers decided to cut the planted coffee trees and replace them with cash crops that provide them periodic income.” “We were challenged to organize ourselves into a company to help small coffee farmers in the rural areas to market their produce,” Hipol stressed. Apart from planting quality coffee trees—around 800 to 1,000 trees per hectare for the Arabica variety and about 2,000 trees for Robusta—Hipol suggested that coffee farmers must immediately depulp the harvested coffee beans within the day, soak the same in water for 18 to 24 hours before drying them in direct sunlight for 15 to 20 days, depending on the weather. Coffee beans must have a moisture content of 11 to 13 percent because if the moisture exceeds that, the aroma of the coffee beans and its taste will no longer be maximized, Hipol said. If it is below 11 percent, it will be premature to roast the coffee beans. The dried coffee beans could be stored in hermit bags for at least 2 months for Arabica and 5 months for Robusta before being roasted through full city roasting, or the border of medium and dark roast. However, Hipol claimed small farmers could not afford the hermit bags, that is why they are advised to put the coffee beans in clean sacks and make sure that they are kept in airy portions of the house while waiting for the produce to be sold. Hipol’s company is eyeing the grading of 8 to 10 tons of Arabica coffee beans and 20 to 30 tons of Robusta after the harvest season by February next year to help small farmers market their produce, considering they buy the product of small farmers from the different parts of the province and sell them to interested buyers.

Kape Ti Uma will remain transparent in the grading of the coffee beans, for farmers to be aware of the quality of their produce and to encourage them to continue planting coffee in their respective places as part of promoting the industry. The company intends to help some 150 coffee farmers in the different parts of Benguet in accessing local and international markets.‐provinces/222526/in‐search‐of‐better‐quality‐coffee.html                                      

Women in Visayas fishing get training posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Manila Standard Several government agencies led by the Department of Science and Technology banded together in a forum to enhance entrepreneurial skills of women in micro, small, and medium enterprises at the Central Visayas Multi-species Nursery Demonstration and Training Center in Bentig, Calape, Bohol. The forum was titled “Fisheries Women Entrepreneurs Forum: Developing the Entrepreneurial Skills of SMEs for Enhanced Export Market of Fresh and Dried Seaweeds.” The Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, the National Network on Women in Fisheries in the Philippines Inc. or WINFISH, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office 7, and BFAR Central Office teamed up for the event.

Elsa Chavez of BFAR Central Office (second from left) receives her certificate of appreciation as a resource person from WINFISH president Dr. Marieta B. Sumagaysay, IARRD-PCAARRD director Dr. Dalisay DG. Fernandez, and BFAR 7 GAD focal person Ana C. Belga (from left). It was the second in a series of fora for women entrepreneurs in the fisheries industry held throughout the country. Previously, women entrepreneurs in Pampanga were trained on the export of live and frozen shrimp and shrimp products at the EPHATHA Development Center, SACOP, Maimpis in San Fernando, Pampanga. The forum became a venue for industry representatives from Regions 6, 7, and 8 to share their personal experiences and successes on the production and marketing of fresh and dried seaweeds. Areas of concern and science and technology intervention needs for the development and improvement of seaweeds per region were discussed during the workshop. Challenges in the industry, which include unstable prices due to supply and demand, absence of price standardization, DTI registration, lack of facilities and equipment, quality of products, market, and packaging and labeling, were identified.

A Memorandum of Understanding between an exporter and five processors was signed at the end of the forum. A total of 75 participants attended the two-day event, consisting of representatives from IARRDPCAARRD, WINFISH officials and staff, BFAR 7 (Cebu) Gender and Development (GAD) and Secretariat, BFAR CO in Quezon City staff, BFAR 6 (Iloilo) and 8 (Tacloban) officials and staff, and exporters or processors of seaweeds from Regions 6 to 8. Dr. Dalisay DG. Fernandez, IARRD-PCAARRD director, was the proponent of the project funded by the BFAR Central Office.‐provinces/222520/women‐in‐visayas‐fishing‐get‐ training.html                                  

LandBank posts P10.3-b profit posted November 25, 2016 at 07:45 pm by Julito G. Rada State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines, the fourth-largest lender in terms of assets, said Friday net income in the first nine months reached P10.3 billion, or nearly unchanged from P10.27 billion a year ago. Land Bank said in a statement the nine-month bottomline was in line with full-year income target of P13.5 billion. The bank’s return on equity in January to September reached 15.8 percent, while net interest margin hit 3.14 percent. Total assets grew 17 percent to P1.3 trillion from P1.1 trillion in the same period last year, buoyed by growth in loans and investments. Gross loan portfolio grew 9 percent to P481.9 billion from P 441.1 billion, while investments climbed 55 percent to P471.9 billion from P303.6 billion. Land Bank president and chief executive Alex Buenaventura, who assumed his post on Nov. 11, said these numbers put the bank in a good position to further expand its services, reach and support especially to farmers and fishers, micro-enterprises and SMEs. “This will be our priority moving forward, as we strive to keep the balance of maintaining our financial viability and fulfilling our development mandate,” Buenaventura said. Total deposits reached P1.2 trillion, up 18 percent from the year-ago level of P991.3 billion. Total capital increased 18 percent to P91.1 billion from P 77.3 billion in the same period last year. Land Bank is the only universal bank present in all provinces of the country with its nationwide network of 365 branches and 1,607 ATMs. These are complemented by 27 other banking offices across the country. It remains the biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers and local government units and is the largest lender to micro-enterprises and SMEs among government financial institutions. Land Bank posted a 10-percent increase in net income to P13.3 billion in 2015 from P12.1 billion in 2014. The solid performance last year exceeded by 11 percent the bank’s annual target net revenue of P12 billion. This also translated into a high return on equity of 17.15 percent.‐posts‐p10‐3‐b‐profit.html  

‘Lawin’-hit farmers in Cagayan get aid By LEANDER C. DOMINGO, TMT on November 27, 2016 Regions SOLANA, Cagayan: Super Typhoon Lawin-affected farmers in Cagayan got a much-needed boost as they make the transition to ecologically viable agriculture after the devastation wrought by Lawin on their crops and lands. This came in the form of seed and fertilizer response packages from the Greenpeace Southeast Asia (GSA)-led People’s Food Movement (PFM). The food campaign network distributed organic seeds, fertilizers, and other farm inputs to 150 farmers in the municipality. The PFM’s activity here is in collaboration with Green Meadows Foundation and Solana Ecological Agriculture Group, Solana town’s local government and Greenpeace Philippines. GSA Executive Director Yeb Saño said the response packages includes vegetable seeds, vermicast, molasses, palay seeds, bokashi and various concoctions that were sourced from farmers practicing ecological agriculture in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces. Saño said that whenever extreme weather events such as droughts and super typhoons hit an area, the agriculture sector always suffers the most. “The impact of these extreme weather disturbances bury our farmers further in an endless cycle of debt, our food production and supply decrease, and food prices increase. All of us are affected. We need to empower our farmers to be able to help the whole nation,” Saño said. He explained that events like Lawin, aggravated by climate change, has wrought havoc on the lives and livelihood of farmers in the Philippines. He added that Lawin caused at least P10.2 billion damage to agriculture, P3.4 billion to infrastructure, and affected more than 49,000 farmers in different provinces in Luzon. Lawin was classified as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 miles per hour, In Cagayan province, the Department of Agriculture has recorded that at least 56,000 hectares of rice fields, 9,000 hectares of corn fields, and 2,000 hectares of vegetables plantations were destroyed. Contributing almost 30 percent to the country’s rice and corn needs, Cagayan and its nearby provinces of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) are the top food production areas of the country.

A two-day seminar on Integrated and Diversified Organic Farming System before the seed distribution was also conducted here by Jonjon Sarmiento of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (Pakisama) along with Lerma Matus, a typhoon Yolanda farmer-survivor. During the seminar, Sarmiento said, the farmers were trained to practice climate-resilient agriculture, self-sufficiency by preserving the seeds, and making their own fertilizers sourced from materials that are abundant and readily available in their areas, so that they will not have to resort to loans to rebuild their farms. Ramon Padilla, national coordinator of the Center for Health Initiatives and Management of Ecosystems (CHIMES), said Lawin brought devastation to the livelihood of small holders and producers but it also opened up opportunities to start the conversation on the seeds as the core of life and food. “We want to reclaim ownership and control of the food system for the small holders and household producers, in consideration with the consumers’ right to safe and healthy food,” Padilla said. Padilla added that through seed response work, the PFM hopes to help address the looming hunger among farmers affected by typhoon Lawin and slowly ease their way out of the cycle of indebtedness. He said the activity also aimed to show the farmers that there is an alternative way of farming that will provide them, their families, and the whole nation with healthy food that are produced through safe, sustainable and climate resilient agriculture. The PFM is a food campaign advanced by individuals, groups, organizations, government entities, academe and other formal and non-formal groups that act collectively and individually to promote practices, programs and policies rooted on the concept and practice of ecological agriculture. PFM members such as CHIMES, Urban Agriculture Advocate of the Philippines, Inc (UAAP), Southeat Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) and farmers of the Climate Resiliency Field Schools of the Rice Watch Action Network (R1) also joined in the distribution of the packages and shared ecological agriculture practices. Meanwhile, Greenpeace called on President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to support a food policy that will put farmers’ need on top priority. “There is a need to put in place a system that can readily respond to farmers needs in rebuilding their farms immediately after a crisis and change the current dominant system of agriculture from monoculture and chemical intensive farming to diverse, integrated, sustainable and climate resilient farming system,” Greenpeace stated.‐hit‐farmers‐cagayan‐get‐aid/298726/

2016 11 27 quedancor daily news monitor