GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The Department of Agriculture in Central Mindanao has sought the help of Taiwanese agriculture officials to further boost corn productivity in the region, officials said Tuesday.

Tommy A. Ala, regional Agriculture director, said a Taiwanese hybrid-corn variety is being tested in demonstration farms in nearby Alabel, Sarangani to test its adaptability in Central Mindanao.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

"The trial of the Taiwanese corn variety is already in the second cropping season. So far, results are very encouraging," he said in a statement.

Recently, agriculture experts from Taiwan, headed by Jen Chyuan-Lee, director of the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center, visited Alabel town to check on the suitability of their hybrid corn variety in the region.

Lee vowed to share Taiwanese expertise and production technologies in corn farming to help the Filipino farmers become economically better.

The Taiwanese agriculture official said they are coordinating with local officials and the private sector for the propagation of the foreign corn variety in the area, as part of efforts to increase the farmers' production and income.

Nelly E. Ylanan, Department of Agrarian (DA)-Central Mindanao information officer, said their agency has been inviting investors to the agriculture sector in a bid to generate more economic activities.

Asked over the phone whether the Agriculture regional office would endorse the propagation of the Taiwanese hybrid corn variety in the area, Ylanan said that remains to be seen pending conclusive results of the testing.

"In the end, it will be the farmers who will choose what variety," she said, should the agency endorses the Taiwanese hybrid corn for cultivation in the area.

"It's the farmer's choice. The DA does not recommend," Ylanan said.

Noting that agriculture plays a major role in the economy, Ala noted that efforts and resources have been carried out to improve agricultural productivity across the country.

In the statement, the regional Agriculture executive stressed that Taiwan is performing well in agriculture that they hope to replicate to make Filipino farmers also successful.

Central Mindanao is a major corn producer in the country, with the official saying that the region ranked third nationwide in corn output in 2008.

Based on the Corn Industry Profile of Region 12, there are at least 462,617 hectares existing corn production areas in the region.

It constitutes 31 percent of the total agricultural corn area in the country pegged at 1.5 million hectares, the regional Agriculture office said.

Central Mindanao region has also the highest number of corn clusters organized, with 204 corn clusters with a minimum of 200 hectares each cluster, the briefer said.

Ala believes that Taiwanese assistance "could be one of the keys to further boost the performance of the country's corn sector."