AS NATURAL calamities continue to affect the agriculture sector, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Cordillera region is embarking on a food quantification study and color coded mapping to guide farmers.
Susan Balanza, chief of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation division of DA-Cordillera said at least a year is needed to complete plans of the agency to determine what the public prefers to eat and a mapping of farms for farmers to check what commodities are suited to farm in their areas.
Balanza added priority programs, projects and activities to address concerns in the agri-sector of the region include food quantification and crafting of a national color coded agriculture guide map to determine the suitable commodities as per suitability analysis in the farms geographic location.
"We are marking out the parcel of lands suitable to what commodity. We want to do it for the next years to at least assure the farmer that all factors are seen to ensure its profitability," Balanza said.
She said suitability of the crop will be taken into consideration namely the geographic condition, temperature, climate, elevation and topography and presence of facilities.
"Later on, we now know how to program our farming because different commodities requires different interventions," she added aside from looking into the physical factors, the agency will also look into several factors such as the poverty index and competitiveness of the commodity.
For the food quantification survey, the agency started to look into commodities being consumed by the public.
“At times, we lack rice – apparently there are substitute. The survey seeks to know the direction later on what commodities to put investment and priorities and commodities required by the masses and processors.”
In 2018, she said a total of 114,713 hectares of farm lands were P18 billion of crops were damaged by typhoons such as Ompong and Rosita requiring P2 billion for recovery of losses and rehabilitation of damages.
"It is sad to come to know that the agriculture and fishery sector is down 5.3 percent in 2018. Considering that the sector is the most vulnerable to uncontrollable factors by climate change, weather disturbances and natural calamities as well as land conversion of agricultural land,” Balanza added.
Philippine Statistics Authority in the Cordillera reported the region's economy grew by 7.3 percent in 2018, slower than the 12.2 percent growth in 2017.
Industry sector contributed the most to the region's 2018 overall growth rate with 4.8 percent followed by Services with 2.9 percent while Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing pulled down the growth by 0.4 percent.