Corn Congress advances corn industry in SurSur

CAGWAIT, Surigao del Sur — After three years of hiatus due to the pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga successfully conducted the 4th Regional Corn Congress, converging corn industry players and other stakeholders on August 24 to 25, 2023 in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur .

According to Lovely Joy L. Saludez of DA Caraga, the two-day activity specifically intended to gather and consolidate all corn industry key players to discuss current issues and challenges, strategies for sustainable corn production, shared best practices, technology promotion, and market potential for corn.

“Corn, cassava, soybean, and sorghum are DA’s priority commodities under the Corn Program, which are considered as staple food for humans, including feeds, and industrial uses,” Saludez added.

To improve the lives of the farmers through various interventions, the feed formulation using locally available raw materials was importantly discussed in the activity to lower the use of commercial feeds, thereby increasing the income of the farmers. The use of Bio-N Fertilizer was reintroduced to save on input costs and attain optimum crop yield it was learned.

Regional Executive Director Engr. Ricardo M. Oñate Jr. stated, “The DA has always been looking after the development of every stakeholder which includes the small farmers.”

“While we are helping our stakeholders to flourish in the agricultural field, we make sure not to put at stake the chance to prosper and improve the lives of small farmers. So, when we encourage them to plant corn, we do not just help them in the production, but also in the marketing aspect,” Dir. Oñate emphasized.

Provincial Agriculturist Marcos M. Quico of Surigao del Sur, on the other hand, encouraged the participants to continue boosting corn production and other grains, to achieve food and feed sufficiency and enhance the competitiveness of the domestic livestock and poultry sector, as corn is one of the important components of livestock feed formulation,

“If we fail to produce corn, we fail to produce livestock and poultry animals,” Quico said.

Meanwhile, Nicamel Bajao, chairperson of Maningalao-Lingayao Agricultural Cooperative (MALICO) stressed the significance of participating in the said event.

“As a corn farmer, I never miss an event such as Corn Congress because this is an important gathering where we become updated on the new technologies and effective strategies to ensure quality and high production,” Bajao explained.

Based on data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2022, the Caraga Region produced 109,512 metric tons (MT) of corn, which is 64% yellow corn, and 36% white corn. In the first semester of 2023, it recorded 22,222 MT.

For 2023, the DA-Caraga targets to produce 126,486 MT of corn; 45,507 MT of white corn and 80, 979 of yellow corn. It aims to increase farmers’ income from P17,956 per hectare to P21,726 per hectare for white corn, and P19,720 per hectare to P26,425 per hectare for yellow corn.

The DA continuously capacitates and strengthens the farmers and enhances their knowledge through seminars and trainings to help them become resilient to the challenges in their field.

The Regional Corn Congress bared the theme, “MAISaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya.” (Photo credit to: Lovely Joy L. Saludez, DA-Caraga, /NGPB, PIA-Surigao del Sur)

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