(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 17 April 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 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 rain showers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. 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 East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Monday, 11 March 2024

More roads to boost cassava industry in Dinagat Islands

By Renelle Escuadro

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) recently approved the Sering–Plaridel farm-to-market road (FMR) that will increase and widen the market for cassava industry players in the Province of Dinagat Islands.

This project will cover a 9.4-kilometer FMR that will traverse the municipalities of Libjo and Basilisa to benefit an estimated 3,659 households, who are mostly cassava farmers and growers.

The infrastructure, with an estimated cost of P341 million, will be funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Scale-Up, designed to sustain the focus on food value chains and ensure greater connectivity, mobility, accessibility, availability, and affordability of food to meet consumer demand.

The key officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga and other stakeholders formally signed the agreement for the construction of the Sering–Plaridel farm-to-market road in Libjo and Basilisa towns, all in the Province of Dinagat Islands. Photo courtesy of DA-13.

According to the DA, this project serves as an offshoot or continuation of the completed R. Ecleo–Upper Laguna FMR, which traverses Barangays Ma-atas, R. Ecleo, and Laguna in Cagdianao town, has benefited 794 households, 777 of whom are farmers of cassava and other priority crops.

A&M Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Barangay Mahayahay in San Jose town is engaged in buying fresh cassava tubers from cassava growers and processing the crops into granules, which will then be delivered and sold to cassava value-chain players like the Fatima Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Ormoc, Leyte.

This cooperative, as a direct beneficiary of the FMR, felt the benefits of the project were the ease of transport of the crop from the farmers to the market.

Cherryl G. Alpar, secretary of A&M Multi-Purpose Cooperative, narrated the gaps filled and addressed by the presence of DA-PRDP’s farm-to-market road in the province.

“Sa wala pa nakarsada ang Upper Laguna, lisod jud ug dugay ang among traveling time sa pagkuha sa kalibre kay lubak-lubak man gud ang kalsada. Gikan sa warehouse almost one hour kapin, ug isa ra ka biyahe ang mahitabo sa isa ka adlaw, unya maka-karga ra mi ug 1,000 tons nga kalibre,” Alpar said.

Before the R. Ecleo-Upper Laguna farm-to-market road was built, cassava farmers and traders relied on this path to transport their crops. Similar to the unpaved road, they faced challenges in getting their produce from the farm to the warehouse and market. Photo courtesy of DA-13.

[When there was still no road in Upper Laguna, transporting the cassava was really hard, and travel time was long since the road was rough. From the warehouse, it would take almost an hour, and we could only travel once a day and carry a maximum of 1,000 tons of cassava.]

“Karon nga naa nay kalsada, dool na kaayo mi sa mga farmers, makabiyahe nami ug kaduha sa isa ka adlaw ug maka-karga ug 4,000 tons nga kalibre taga biyahe,” she added.

[Now that there is a cemented road, we're very close to the farmers. We can travel back and forth in a day and load up to 4,000 tons for each trip.]

With another FMR to be constructed in the province, Alpar shared that more farmers are now motivated to plant cassava and have requested the cooperative to pick up their crops, which has widened and expanded the market and business of the group.

The 3.6-kilometer R. Ecleo-Upper Laguna farm-to-market road in Cagdianao town, Province of Dinagat Islands, was completed in October 2020. This is the first FMR that has benefited cassava farmers and growers in the province. Photo courtesy of DA-13.

Cassava, a calorie-rich vegetable root crop, is used mainly as food, animal feed, and fuel. It can also be used as a raw material for pharmaceuticals and industrial products and applications, among others.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), from April to June 2023, the cassava production in the country was estimated at 709.91 thousand metric tons, which indicated a growth of 1.6 percent from the 698.63 thousand metric tons output in the same quarter of 2022.

With more and better roads in the pipeline, the potential of the cassava industry in the Province of Dinagat Islands will continue to propel and  sustain its goal of becoming a key industry player in the country. (RLE/PIA-Dinagat Islands, with a report from DA-13)