(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Saturday, 22 June 2024) Southwest Monsoon affecting the western sections of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southeast to South will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Sunday, 24 September 2023

Onion production triumphs in Caraga

By Renelle L. Escuadro

BUTUAN CITY – As a staple food and spice in Filipino culinary, the country consumes an estimated 17,000 metric tons of onions every month. This huge consumption and increasing demand in the market left even the biggest local producers from Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Mimaropa overwhelmed, thus opted the Philippines to source out and import onion from India, China and the United States.

As a mindful and dedicated ally on food security, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga, took the challenge to consider onion plantation and production in the region and to remove its dependency on supply from the islands of Luzon and Visayas, with its successful harvest of quality red onion in Butuan City, through the local government unit’s Agriboost program, in partnership with stakeholders and the local farmers. 

The failed trials and multiple attempts of the region did not stop the caliber team to consider accurate and right technology intervention and demonstration for red onion to grow in Butuan City, and in the region, as a counter argument to a previous claim that Caraga Region is not a good environment for onion since it has a wet weather condition.

“The red onion production campaign of the Department of Agriculture- Caraga under the leadership of Regional Executive Director Engr. Ricardo M. OΓ±ate Jr. in encouraging LGUs in the region to show the adaptability of the commodity in the climatic condition of the Caraga region is our inspiration that what we thought is impossible, it could be achievable,” said Butuan City Agriculturist, Engr. Pierre Anthony D. Joven, as he shared the triumph during his interview with the DA-Caraga.

“Like any other crops, red onion is suitable and has the potential to thrive in Butuan City,” added Engr. Joven, who led in the conduct of  a Farmers Field School (FFS) on vegetable production from April to July 2023, including the technology demonstration of red onion production, where FFS farmer-enrollees were given resources and technical assistance,  under the supervision of the City Agriculture Office as they demonstrated the production of the red onion in an open field.

“One of our ways to showcase the technology to the farmers is to involve them in the project by letting them experience and apply the technology that was taught. Based on the demonstration, this proved that with appropriate technologies coupled with proper management red onion will thrive in Butuan City’s climatic condition,” confirmed  Engr. Joven.

The DA’s High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), through its technology demonstration, looked into the viability of the onion production to an initial 100 square meters per site that needed a greenhouse covering or rain shelter  since onion would require a long period of sunlight that posed a challenge for Caraga Region being a place with no pronounced dry season. Onion also needed sandy soil to survive.

This program was initially participated by 16 local government units in the region, including the three DA-Caraga research stations situated at Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, Del Monte and Trento in Agusan del Sur that received planting materials, technical support and strong coordination between the operation and research group for any development of the said techno-demo sites.

To sustain this gain in food security and make the region a sustainable supplier of onion in the country, the DA Caraga started to replicate and fast track this significant milestone through capacity training to the employees of the Department and the local government units, such as on September 7 to 8, 2023, a two-day training on lowland vegetable and onion production was conducted at RAFTITTI, Inc., Cuarinta, San Jose, Province of Dinagat Islands.

Twenty-five technical personnel from the Operations Division of DA Caraga, including the special Projects on Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo (4K) and the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), two from the Provincial Agriculture Office of Dinagat Islands and representatives from the municipalities of the province participated in the training, with primary objective that these participants can now augment in the tasks of cascading new farming technologies on onion production to the farmers in the region.

As published by the Department of Agriculture, the Philippine Onion Industry Roadmap 2021–2025 established the need for the country to increase production from 229,539 metric tons to 279, 270 metric tons in five years by increasing area planted and productivity to achieve self-sufficiency.

With this success story, Caraga Region progressively joins to be a new producer of onion in the country, and is determined to help the government achieve food security and lessen importation. (RLE/PIA-Caraga)