MALAYBALAY CITY -- Land conversion remained to be one of the pressing issues in agricultural productivity, an agriculture official said.

Agriculture undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said that there should be a moratorium on land conversion in order for the coordinating government line agencies to truly validate land areas for reclassification.

“Except for socialized housing projects, all other applications for land reclassification should be thoroughly validated in order to see the true purpose for such application, especially in agricultural areas,” said Cayanan, who was here as keynote speaker for the 23rd annual Farmer’s Field Days at the Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex.

Cayanan underscored the importance of agricultural research where it has become an institution serving farmers and fisher folk as its priority in order to achieve the country’s goal of providing food to every Filipino and livelihood to many.

The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Northern Mindanao sees better farming in the years to come owing it to an empowered agri-technopreneurs through decades of efficient technology development for a food secure and progressive region.

Officials said this was due to continued quality agricultural practices gathered by their research division. The hectare-wide research complex has been the aide of farmers for more than two decades in production and profitability. Over the years, it has propagated drought-resistant rice varieties.

The three-day trade show held at the research complex which opened on Tuesday, was a venue for farmers to showcase new technologies and equipment in agriculture and share knowledge on demonstrated practices.

The research complex is also known today as White Potato Center of Mindanao since it is the farmers’ source of disease-free white potato planting materials which ensures zero-incidence of bacterial wilt and virus infestation. The center is also the source of quality germplasm for production and distribution of quality seeds and planting materials.

Agriculture regional director Lealyn Ramos said that the research complex has provided a strong and influential opportunity to other communities in Mindanao where it greatly helped shape the agribusiness environment.

“Farmers are not simply expected to provide high quality, nutritious and affordable foods but also play a role in a responsive business environment,” said Ramos noting that the research complex has particularly served small farmers in linking growth markets and sustainable communities, along with the collaboration of other research centers in the country.

The research complex chief Juanita Betonio-Salvani said that the center will continue to develop appropriate agricultural technologies coupled with mechanisms that develop and strengthen farm business enterprises for farmers to have a competitive advantage.

“It is in this goal that technopreneurship is placed at heart as we continue to harmonize our research development and extension effort as well as production activities as a full-package complement that ensure food-secure communities and at the same time establish and strengthen profitable business ventures in the countryside,” said Salvani.