To update the status of Cassava Industry and solicit issues and concerns from different stakeholders in Region 02 for the purpose of further improving the harmony among each partners, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office No. 02 (DA RFO 02) through its Corn Program and Cassava Project conducted the 9th Regional Cassava Stakeholders Meeting with the theme, “Masaganang ANI at Mataas na KITA sa Cassava,” held last October 25, 2019 at DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center (DA CVRC), San Felipe, City of Ilagan, Isabela.

Present during the meeting were stakeholders from all around the region which included Provincial/ Municipal/ City Agriculture Officers as well as Cassava farmers from cassava growing provinces, municipalities/,cities, local cassava buyers (assemblers), technicians and staffs from San Miguel Foods Incorporated, the national President and Secretary (Interim) of Philippine Cassava Growers and Processors Association (PhilCAGAPA), Staffs from San Mariano Diversified Cooperative, Philippine Statistics Authority – Isabela, and Regional Crop Protection Center.

With 80 participants, the meeting had proceeded with the presence of Engr. Rolando D. Pedro, DA-CVRC center chief, and Ms. Nenita M. Yabis, Regional Corn and Cassava Coordinator.

Engr. Pedro on his welcome remarks had thanked all the stakeholders for their continued support as he reminisced the past journey of the cassava project being the pioneering Regional Cassava Focal Person.

“I know that you knew how many hardships we had encountered just to make this industry prosper. From conducting briefings/pieces of training with few participants and sometimes they only come when we serve snacks and told them there’s also lunch to a point where they (farmers) choose to watch basketball championship rather than to attend the briefing,” he said.

Yabis had updated the stakeholders about the current status of the cassava industry, along with the construction of the first Cassava Starch Processing Plant at Alibadabad, San Mariano, Isabela, Yabis also discussed the Department’s goals, targets, challenges as well as project interventions for the succeeding years.

“There are various project benefits that can be availed by farmers but you  should a part of association or a cooperative and that organization should be accredited by the DA-RFO 02,” Yabis reminded.

In a presentation made by  Marivic M. Garcia of PSA-Isabela, the volume, as well as the area of cassava production in Region 02, had decreased for 12% due to unforeseen events, typhoon Ompong & Rosita. When asked Mr. Arturo Ordoñez whether they could present the data by the municipality, Garcia exclaimed that they can’t because their scope as of now is only provincial and that they don’t conduct total enumeration.

Meanwhile, Mindaflor Aquino of Regional Crop Protection Center also discussed the prevailing arthropod pests (red spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs,etc.), diseases ( Cassava Phytoplasma Disease, Cassava Bacterial Blight, Cassava Anthrachnose, etc.) and their underlying economic importance.

Apart from the updates, Arturo Ordoñez from San Miguel Foods Inc., one of the major key players in the buying of Cassava granules utilized for animal feeds presented the different newly constructed feed mills around the country. “…these new feed mills will serve as an assurance to you (farmers) that your harvested crops will be bought (by assemblers),” he added.
When asked about the price of cassava, Mr. Ordoñez explained that the floor price is at 10.50 Php. per kilogram of dried granules with good quality but the guaranteed price is at 14.00 Php. Mr.Ordoñez further said that the set guaranteed price is exclusive until December of this year only.

During her closing message, Yabis thanked all the stakeholders and had stated that the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office No. 02 through its Corn/ Cassava program will continue to support the growing industry of cassava in the region.

Report from Jonathan S. Balog, DA-CVRC