Davao to boost onion production to stop smuggling-A A +A
Sunday, September 23, 2012
A TOTAL of 117 hectares of land will be planted with red, yellow, and shallot onions in Davao Region to stop smuggling of onions in Mindanao, an official of the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Friday.
Melanie Provido, DA regional high-value commercial crops coordinator, said the National Government has allotted a budget P97 million for the Quick Response Fund (QRF), P5 million of which has been set aside for Davao Region.
She said QRF is used to rehabilitate farmlands in various regions nationwide hardly hit by calamities like floods.
A program briefer said the DA through the High Value Crops Development Program (DA-HVCDP) came up with an assistance program to affected farmers with the use of the QRF, through provision of seeds and planting materials and other inputs to rehabilitate production areas.
"Ang DA nagpondo for production sa sige og baha (Because of the constant flooding, DA funded for the production of agricultural crops)," she said.
The P5 million QRF allocated for Davao Region will be utilized to plant onions to help farmers earn and fight smuggling activities in Mindanao.
"We wanted to help the onion industry here because there's so much importation of onions already. The smuggling is too much also," she said.
She added that this is the first time that DA-Davao will be planting onions in the region.
Of the 117 hectares eyed for onion production, a total of 53 hectares will be planted with red onions, 20 hectares with the yellow variety, 23 hectares to shallots.
Another 21 hectares will be planted with assorted vegetables. DA-Davao is eyeing a total of 530 metric tons (MT) in production yield for red onions, 300 MT for yellow onions, and 210 MT for shallots.
She said farmers will start planting shallot onions in October while planting of red and yellow onions will begin in January of 2013.
"We will try to harvest the shallots by December this year," she said, adding that harvesting period will take place just in time for next year to lessen the importation of onions.
It can be recalled that in early February this year, the Bureau of Cutoms (BOC) in Davao Region seized 23 container vans of potatoes and onions from HongKong and China worth P18 million.
These smuggled products were misdeclared as margarine, lanolin, savory products, shortening and yeast.
Provido added the local demand for onions will already suffice to keep the industry alive, adding that some of the produce will be shipped out to Luzon and Visayas markets.
The agriculture department will provide organic fertilizers and at least one multi-cultivator for every 20 hectare-cluster of farms as a technical assistance to farmers.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 24, 2012.