THE Department of Agriculture (DA), along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), under the National Convergence Initiative developed 1.67 million hectares of agribusiness and agro-forestry lands from 2005 up to the third quarter of 2009.

Target

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In a yearender report furnished Sun.Star Cebu, DA Secretary Arthur Yap said the development is equivalent to 81 percent of the two-million-hectare target this year.

He said this had generated about 2,438,871 jobs or 85 percent of the total target.

On the implementation of the agriculture component of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), DA, in particular, developed 1.328 million hectares of land, which led to the creation of more than two million jobs.

In a phone interview, Juana Alvaracin of the DA 7 Planning Department said Central Visayas was able to develop 221 hectares for the whole of last year, which generated about 817 jobs for farmers in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Siquijor.

Crops

Alvaracin said that among the crops planted in the different provinces of the region were corn and banana.

She added that the DA had also developed lands to improve pasture areas for goats and carabaos, particularly in the province of Bohol.

Last year DA 7 developed 518 hectares of land and generated 681 jobs for farmers. This year, Alvaracin said, the region still has 590 hectares of land left to be developed.

“DA shall continue planting corn and banana in these areas as well as develop pasture areas in the different provinces of the region,” she said.

Hybrid rice

In earlier reports, DA 7 Director Ricardo Oblena said the department would continue pushing for hybrid rice and corn production this year to help farmers augment their income.

Aside from the DA, the DENR also developed 60,205 hectares of land, which generated two million jobs.

On the other hand, the DAR developed 286,780 hectares of land, which created 285,028 jobs in the same period under the convergence initiative.