THE Municipal Government of Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental is stepping up its efforts to strengthen agricultural crops production, especially of spices and herbs.

Mayor Laurence Marxlen de la Cruz said that aside from ginger, there are many other spices and herbs to be explored in the town. However, the production data is still limited.

He said they plan to utilize the youth in conducting agricultural survey on a per hectare basis this summer and vacation period, most probably starting April.

“We need to have an appropriate data especially as to how vast our production area for spices and herbs is,” De la Cruz said, adding that through the survey “we can also get the actual number of farmers planting these potential crops.”

The municipal government noted a huge production volume of ginger in the last three years.

The mayor recalled there was a time that ginger has a very high market value.

De la Cruz said there was one trader who bought 10 tons of ginger from Salvador Benedicto at P95 per kilogram. He brought the product to Cebu and sold it at P250 per kilogram, resulting to a net income of P1.5 million.

“Thus, there is really a huge market potential for ginger. In terms of production, it is very advantageous for farmers since it does not need fertilizers,” he added.

Aside from ginger, another commodity discovered growing in the highlands of the town is cinnamon.

It is endemic in the islands of Cebu, Panay and Negros, the mayor said.

De la Cruz said though it is confirmed that cinnamon grows in the locality, they have yet to gather more data about the crop, including its production and value-adding opportunities.

“Through the agricultural survey, we can also encourage more traders from nearby localities and provinces to source these products from Salvador Benedicto,” he said, adding that the data is also vital in the local government’s plan to revive its coffee and cacao production.