Responding to the invitation of the Center for Leadership, Communication and Governance Inc., (CLCGI) Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo discussed the breakthroughs and milestones of the Department of Agriculture to the different lawyers, Local and National Government employees enrolled in the customized Master in Public Administration in his topic “Reforms in Agriculture” on December 2, 2018 at the NBI Function Hall, Ilagan City, Isabela.

“What we know about agriculture a decade ago is no longer the same today. Following the mandate of the Department of Agriculture with the leadership of Sec. Emmanuel Pinol, which is development by providing the policy framework, public investments and support services needed for domestic and export-oriented business enterprises, we now focus on the improvement of farm income and generate work for farmers, fisherfolks and rural workers,” he said.

He outlined innovations to achieve this mandate, especially in Region 2, expounding the rice, corn and cassava, livestock, and organic agriculture programs, farm-to-market roads and the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

“For the rice program, we have drastically increased in rice sufficiency level from 214 in 2010 to 286 in 2017. For corn, Region 2 ranks first as corn producer for the last 14 years with 25% contribution in the national production yearly. The City of Ilagan has been declared as the corn capital of the Philippines on August 2015,” he elaborated.

He explained that as to high value crops, the efforts of the DA RFO 2 could not be gainsaid as San Mateo was declared Mung-bean Capital on November 2011, and Enrile, Cagayan as the peanut capital on of the Philippines on March 2015.

In addition to these, three (3) sweet Siamese Pummelo trees were certified as parent source in the Philippines by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC). He said priority crops include lowland and upland vegetables, coffee, cacao, peanut, mung bean garlic, citrus and sweet potato.

“As to livestock, Cagayan Valley is a Free Region without vaccination for foot and mouth disease and avian flu. We are promoting genetically improved cattle, goat and sheep breeds and we are reducing incidence or priority diseases,” he explained.

“We are also meeting the target of converting 27,203 hectares of agricultural area solely devoted to organic agriculture by 2022. At present, DA RFO 2 has attained 17,043.33 hectares,” he added.

He also explained that technology is indispensable in agriculture as one solar powered irrigation system (SPIS) has already been completed in San Esteban, Alcala, Cagayan. Under the rice program, DA RFO 2 also fortified soil and water conservation and watershed management and has done soil fertility mapping.

“There are plenty of interventions and innovations that we have under corn program. We have introduced crop improvement/breeding of OPV (protein- rich corn), application of bio-control agents and the enhancement of farm mechanization or postharvest facilities to reduce losses and improve quality,” he elucidated.

Likewise, he underscored that under the corn program, DA RFO 2 has packaged Mangi Maxi, Maize Silky Sip. He said corn silk has diuretic properties, anti-fatigue and antioxidant. Other packaged products from high value crops include: mungbean soup, mungbean milk, peanut balls, peanut bars, peanut butter and peanut brittle, all Cagayan Valley brand.

“We have always been serious on organic agriculture. We have established organic trading posts and centers, we use greenhouses for planting materials production and DA Nueva Vizcaya Experiment Station is now a Certified Organic Farm by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines. Just recently, we also have launched TieanDA Malasakit,” he furthered.

Aside from being ISO Certified, Edillo said that DA RFO 2 has the biggest Integrated Laboratory in the Philippines.
“For access and mobility in the transport of goods and services, we also have implemented farm-to-market roads under our Regional Agricultural Engineering Group. In addition to this, we also have a six -year rolling program with the World Bank under the Philippine Rural Development project, designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart and market oriented agri-fishery sector. The infrastructures projects under this support value chain oriented enterprises. With PRDP are good practices such as E-VSA, Geo mapping and governance and Social and Environmental Safeguards, ” he concluded.