ASIDE from being the fruit basket of Mindanao, Bukidnon is poised to be the vegetable center in the country and is eyeing to supply regularly to Manila.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Northern Mindanao said they will spend over P300 million to empower farmers in Bukidnon and be able to link them directly to buyers in Manila.
DA-Northern Mindanao director Carlene Collado said Impasug-ong, Talakag, Sumilao, and Lantapan or the Imtasula complex will be the primary municipalities where high-value vegetable production will be prioritized.
Collado said they have allocated P270 million for the loan window of the vegetable farmers, P20 million for marketing, and another P250 million for production support.
“Our purpose is to make this Imtasula area a vegetable basket of the Philippines, which is our response to the problem in Metro Manila where they are sourcing their vegetables from the Cordillera, and if there is a calamity, the effect of this, prices of veggies will increase. That's true, last week after Typhoon Ompong, where prices of veggies rose up to P400,” Collado said in a press conference Thursday, September 27.
With the new program, Collado said farmers will no longer be controlled by traders as their products will go directly to Manila through DA's Malasakit stores.
In his visit to Bukidnon last week, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the 50,000 hectares total land area of Imtasula would be enough to feed the whole country.
He said that it is time that the country, especially the Luzon area should not rely so much on the Cordillera for vegetable production and develop other potential areas like Bukidnon.