(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 29 June 2022) At 3:00 AM today, the center of Tropical Depression "Caloy" was estimated based on all available data at 395 km West of Iba, Zambales (15.3°N, 116.3°E) with maximum sustained winds of 45 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 55 km/h. It is moving West slowly. Place: SURIGAO DEL NORTE & DINAGAT ISLANDS Weather Condition: Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms Caused by: Southwest Monsoon Impacts: Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms FORECAST WIND & COASTAL WATER CONDITIONS: Place: SURIGAO DEL NORTE, SIARGAO ISLANDS & DINAGAT ISLANDS Wind Speed: Light to Moderate Wind Direction: Southwest to Southeast Coastal Waters: Slight to Moderate / (0.6 to 2.1 meters) OVER SURIGAO CITY: Maximum Temperature: 01:00 PM Yesterday ------ 34.0°C Minimum Temperature: 02:00 AM Today ------- 22.0°C Maximum Relative Humidity: 05:00 AM Today --- 90% Minimum Relative Humidity: 02:00 PM Yesterday ---- 65% TIDES: (Courtesy of NAMRIA) High Tide: 10:17 AM Today = 1.3 m Low Tide: 07:05 PM Today = -0.1 m Sunrise Today: 05:20 AM Sunset Today: 06:02 PM

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Upscaling Caraga farmers through clustering

By Aurelius P. Arais

BUTUAN CITY, May 9 -- Economies of scale.

This is the driving force of the corn and cassava program of the Department of Agriculture DA) in adopting a clustering approach in extending its services to the farmers in the region.

Melody Guimary, DA Caraga’s regional corn program coordinator said that currently there are 18 existing corn clusters in the region consists of 3,622 farmers with a total area of 6,326 hectares.

“A cluster should have at least 200 hectares contiguously located, with an organized and registered farmers’ organization with the complete set of officers,” she said.

Guimary further explained that each cluster should have a cluster development plan but in a municipality or city that has multiple clusters, a municipal or city corn development plan should be formulated and adopted by the LGU.

Aside from the current 18 corn clusters, around 9 areas have an on-going application to be clustered with 1,280 farmers and with an area of 2,759 hectares, while another 10 areas are being proposed with 1,438 farmers and an area of 2,249 hectares.

“If all areas will be finally classified as a cluster, Caraga Region will have a total of 37 corn clusters with 6,340 farmers and a total area of 11,334 hectares,” Guimary said.

On existing corn clusters, Butuan City is on top with 6 clusters, followed by 3 in Las Nieves, 2 in Trento, Agusan del Sur, and 1 each in other municipalities.

Guimary further said that DA’s intervention is being focused on a cluster areas such as farm tractors, harvester, dryer, inputs, trainings,  and other interventions needed by the cluster based on their development plan.

Organized farmers can also easily access loan supports from the government or private financial institutions.

“With the creation of clusters, DA Caraga through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) assisted the farmers in forging marketing agreement with potential buyers, while other clusters had established their own marketing agreement with local existing buyers since they have the volume upon harvest,” Guimary said.

This is the case of Carmen, Surigao del Sur wherein they have an existing buyer in the municipality with the presence of the Balangay Feed Factory Incorporated (BFFI) in the area.
Rencio Valeroso, cluster head of the Federation of Corn Growers Association and Vice-Chair of the Philippine Maize Federation Caraga Chapter said that clustering is a good approach being adopted by DA Caraga.

“Upon harvest, we have the volume of production, so as a cluster, we can market our produce with ease at BFFI,” Valeroso said who is also a Sangguniang Bayan member.

Carmen cluster became a recipient of DA’S interventions such as Village Type Dryer, corn picker, recirculating dryer, and corn planter.

“We are so grateful with DA Caraga for the support they have given for our corn farmers, helping us during pre and post-harvest operation, and giving us access for trainings within and outside the region,” Valeroso said.

DA in coordination with LGU is also currently in the process of identifying cassava areas to be clustered.

Secretary William Dar on his eight paradigms in agriculture promotes and supports farm consolidation to bring about economies of scale, particularly for crops that require mechanization and massive use of technology. (DA Caraga/PIA Caraga)