Bukidnon wastes more corn than it consumes

MALAYBALAY CITY – The volume of corn losses due to post-harvest facility wastage is higher than the volume of corn actually consumed in Bukidnon, one of the country’s top corn-producing provinces.

The Provincial Agriculture Office, in its 2011 to 2016 Corn Roadmap of Bukidnon, a copy of which was obtained by Bukidnon News recently, showed that Bukidnon lost 87,766 metric tons of corn or 26 percent of its corn production intended for local markets.

The PAO projected to cut down the losses from 26 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2016. The road map also showed that corn for local food use will be increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2016.

Estellita Madjos, deputy provincial agriculture officer, told Bukidnon News this shows the extent of Bukidnon’s losses due to lack of post harvest facilities.

She added that the 2010 actual losses was carried as the 2011 projected losses because no additional post harvest facilities were built or used so far.

Of the 338,684 left for the local market, only 21 percent or 72,670 metric tons are consumed or classified as “food use.”

About 52.4 percent or 177,710 metric tons of Bukidnon’s local corn use goes to the local livestock industry as “feeds.”

Madjos clarified that in the plan’s estimates Bukidnon appears to consume a lower volume of corn because primarily rice is available and rice is preferred to corn.

In 2010, of Bukidnon’s total corn production of 554,297 metric tons, about 49 percent was accounted for local use. The remaining 51 percent went to “outside” market.

The five year road map prepared by the Provincial Agriculture Office asserted that Bukidnon needs to avail of additional units of post harvest facilities (PHFs) from the Department of Agriculture, local government units, and private investors.

More PHFs have been identified as among the six interventions needed in the province to obtain its conservative targets for 2016. The road map showed that Bukidnon intends to produce 773,995 metric tons in 2016, or 32.4 percent higher from its 2010 production.

Madjos told Bukidnon News Tuesday corn is planted to an average of 80,000 hectares of farmlands in Bukidnon’s 20 towns and two cities.

“But the capacity of the biggest post harvest facility in the province is only for 10,000 hectares,” she added.

In 2011, according to the projections cited in the PAO road map, with a population of 1.27 million, Bukidnon has local corn usage of 338,684 metric tons out of its 691,073 metric tons total projected production.

With the figure, the province enjoys a 104-percent sufficiency rate, Madjos said Saturday.

The road map also showed that PAO intends to increase sufficiency ratio to 115 percent in 2016.

The Provincial Agriculture Office has also recommended that Bukidnon must strengthen its research, and development, agricultural extension programs; and promote innovative farming technologies for sustainable development; encourage strong partnerships and linkages with government and non-government organizations.

The office also recommended “strong market linkages with processors.”

The PAO cited in the plan’s “infrastructure development” that Bukidnon has a total of 1,610 metric tons of post harvest facilities’ capacity.

The biggest three are run by the Mindanao Grains company in Aglayan, Malaybalay City with a 480- metric ton capacity; Castech in Cabanglasan town with 400 MT and Cagayan Corn Products in Maramag town with 400 MT capacity. Limketkai Grains firm also runs a 200-MT post harvest facility in Malaybalay City.

Farmers’ associations, multi-purpose cooperatives, and local government units also operate post harvest facilities with capacity of 50 metric tons.

But their combined capacity, Madjos said, is still not enough.

The Provincial Agriculture Office pushed as its top recommendation the opening of more post harvest facilities.

The PAO has set three goals in the road map: “increase in farmers’ productivity and income,” “production of quality corn for food and feeds,” and to “minimize post harvest facility losses.”(Walter I. Balane)

Find this story also in: www.mindnews.com

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