NegOcc to create 5-year agriculture road map

By Erwin Nicavera

January 30, 2019, 3:15 pm

BACOLOD CITY -- The provincial government of Negros Occidental will craft a five-year agriculture development plan or road map amid the woes faced by the sugar industry.

This will be done as officials and stakeholders in Negros Occidental will gather for the Negros First Transformative Agriculture Summit at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City in this province on Thursday.

“We are not certain of the future of the sugar industry, at least sugar planters will have the option as to what crops they can adopt and divert to,” said Japhet Masculino, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA).

Negros Occidental is considered the Philippines’ sugar capital, producing about 60 percent of the country’s sugar output.

The recent proposal of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to liberalize or deregulate the importation of sugar has been opposed by sugar industry leaders, producers, and small farmers in the province, saying it would lead to industry collapse.

Themed “Redefining Negros Rural Landscape,” the one-day summit will be attended by provincial government officials led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., city and town mayors, business and other private sector organizations, planters, and farmers, among others.

The activities will include discussions on industry situations and breakout sessions, where participants will list down suggestions and recommendations on how to develop various agricultural sectors.

Masculino said that before the summit, the OPA already identified four major sectors such as crops, livestock, fisheries and non-forest products.

Under crops, identified specific commodities are rice, corn, sweet potato, banana, coffee, and cacao.

He added that the summit will highlight situation of each of these crops as well as those of other sectors, with emphasis on the whole value chain -- from production to the market.

“The result of the breakout session will be used as basis in coming up with our agriculture development plan,” Masculino said. (PNA)