DAVAO CITY—The Davao Oriental provincial will be pushing for massive corn production as well as engaging farmers to become entrepreneurs.

In an interview Wednesday, provincial information officer Karen Lou Deloso said the government's thrust in pushing for the project is to reduce the province’s poverty incidence through agriculture.

Deloso said Governor Corazon Malanyaon agreed to a proposal from Vicente T. Lao, president and chief executive officer of Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures Corporation, a world-class Filipino poultry company.

Lao said corn is a critical commodity with “a vast potential to fix the country’s concern on food security,” considering that the market prices of all other commodities depend on corn’s production cost.

Yellow corn is an essential ingredient in hogs, poultry, and fish feeds. It is preferred as animal feed because of its high carotene content.

Based on the proposal, the company will lease farmlands, preferably flat and contiguous, which will be identified by the provincial government. The company will provide the machinery, seedlings, and other farm inputs.

“It will also put up a feed mill to process the corn into feeds,” Deloso said, adding that participating farmers will engage in chicken production through a contract growing scheme.

“The company will provide the chicks and feeds and may even give some investment for the coop or enclosure to house them,” Deloso added.

She said the farmers are only required to provide the labor cost to raise and reproduce the chicken and build the house for the poultry livestock.

“In return, the company, which produces a variety of poultry products, assures to buy the chicken from the farmers,” Deloso said.

Meanwhile, Malanyaon said she considered the proposal an opportunity to enable her administration to reduce the province’s poverty incidence.

Davao Oriental currently has a poverty incidence rate of 32.7 percent (2021), the second highest among Davao Region's five provinces.

Malanyaon said the Provincial Agriculture Office has been directed to study the proposal’s feasibility.

“If there are 150,000 families below the poverty threshold, we could target making a dent of at least 50 percent of these poor families to improve their financial conditions,” the governor said.

She added that the province will adopt a market-driven approach in selecting and producing major crops and livestock. (PNA)