DA-8 to intensify its white corn production program
MARABUT, SAMAR—In support of the food staples sufficiency program, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas will intensify its white corn production program all over the region.
Brenda Pepito, DA-8 regional corn program coordinator, said interventions will be made by the department to improve white corn production.
“We will strengthen marketing and production support services for farmers and improve postharvest facilities in corn areas,” Pepito said during the media interaction with DA-8 officials here.
Pepito added DA will maintain its 91,267 metric tons (MT) white corn production target for 2012. Last year’s target was at 71,642 MT.
About P11 million has been allocated by DA for its support to corn production, which include postharvest facilities.
“Fifty-two percent of corn seeds used for cultivation are traditional and of lowest variety of seeds. So we need to produce an improved variety,” Pepito added.
DA-8 has already established a six-hectare area for production of quality high-protein corn seeds for distribution to interested communities willing to participate in producing their own seeds.
“We expect to produce 1,200 bags at P20 kilograms per bag of quality corn seeds. Given the right management, each bag of corn seeds has a potential production of six to seven metric tons and gross income will range from P72,000-84,000 per hectare,” Pepito said.
At the community-level, DA is supporting the community-based seed production system where local government units and farmers are trained to produce their own quality seeds for distribution to corn farmers for the next cropping season.
About 20,000 bags of certified seeds are expected to be distributed to 20,000 corn farmers all over the region.
Pepito also said the department will distribute village-type mobile corn mills powered by a five horsepower engine targeting upland farmers who are relatively far from existing corn mills.
“This is a strategy adopted by the program to encourage more farmers to plant and eat corn grits as alternate staple to rice,” Pepito said.
DA targets to distribute 10 units of mobile corn mills that could mill 44,000 kilos of corn grains eight hours a day and could benefit 64 farmers covering 32 hectares per cropping.
Pepito also said part of the production support services for corn is to expand production areas.
“Several interventions such as planting in coconut areas to increase yield are being considered,” Pepito said.
At the industrial level, Eastern Visayas has about 64,000 hectares of land planted to corn with an average yield of 139 MT per hectare.
In program areas, DA expects to harvest an additional seven to eight MT per hectare given the interventions to be implemented. (REYAN L. ARINTO)
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