The Gross Value Added for the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector grew by 2.07 percent annually from 2004 to 2006. However, the accomplishment fell a little short of the target due to inadequate infrastructure and the competition from imported vegetables.
Inadequate agri-infrastructure support. The poor road conditions in the region contributed to the high cost of inputs and post-harvest losses. Added to the difficulty in transporting the agricultural products, the limited post-harvest facilities resulted to high spoilage and reduced the quality of farm produce.
Entry of cheap, imported vegetables. The implementation of the WTO agreements led to the entry of imported vegetables from China, Australia, Holland and New Zealand. Local growers were faced with competition for the first time and encountered difficulties in matching the price and quality of the imported vegetables. Given the high cost of production some farmers opted to stop production while other shifted to planting Marijuana.
North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ) Development Program.The implementation of projects under the NLAQ Super Region shall improve the quality and competitiveness of local products. The construction of Fruits and Vegetables Processing and Packaging Plant at the La Trinidad Trading Post in Benguet shall increase the value of fruits and vegetables through packaging and processing activities. Cold Chain projects programmed for implementation in Buguias, Atok and Tublay in Benguet shall provide cold storage facilities, pre-cooling stations, and refrigerator systems to ensure the freshness of vegetables coming from the region. Other priority programs under the NLAQ funding include the construction of farm-to-market roads, irrigation facilities and tramlines.
Organic Agriculture. The promotion of organic agriculture in the region responds to the universal call for ecologically sound and sustainable agricultural practices. Organic agriculture strengthens the region in its current position as a major Greens and Ornamental Grocer and complements current Philippine ecotourism thrust of promoting wellness and healthy lifestyle. Aside from vegetables, coffee and rice are organically grown in CAR.
In response to this call for promoting organic agriculture, Benguet State University has been declared as an Organic Agriculture University and will initiate activities along sustainable agriculture to preserve the region’s agriculture and environmental resources.
3.8.3 Goal, Objectives, Targets
Goal : CAR shall be a major contributor to the national food security in terms of competitive semi-temperate vegetables while attaining self-sufficiency in fruits, livestock and fish.
Objectives : By 2010, CAR shall have:
- Increased the production of semi-temperate vegetables;
- Increased the year-round production and supply of high quality fresh cutflowers;
- Increased the number of KFAs with which the Niche has established forward and backward linkages;
- Increased the supply of fruits, livestock and fish;
- Increased land productivity; and
- Increased agricultural labor productivity.
Targets: Gross Value Added is targeted to grow from P4.47 billion in 2008 to P4.8 billion in 2010 with an annual average growth of 4.1 percent. Palay and corn will continue to exhibit the same growth as in 2004 to 2006, while vegetable production is targeted to grow from 0.3 percent to 1.92 percent annually.
Agri-business Enterprise Development. The Government shall provide the farmers with farm and fishery inputs, production equipment and laboratory services to transform farms into productive agribusiness enterprises. Integrated farming systems shall be promoted to accommodate more family members to go into agri-business with diverse products (i.e. backyard livestock raising, fish culture, etc.). This strategy shall also address the problem of limited areas for production.
Agri-market Development. Market tie-ups are carried to develop the entrepreneurship skills of farmers and enable them to deliver their produce and meet the requirements of the market in terms of product quantity and quality.
The establishment of a sound marketing system through the operation of an agriculture information system will provide timely and relevant market information to all stakeholders. Market development also includes market promotion and linkage with other KFAs (e.g., KFA on tourist destination for the conduct of festivals like Panagbenga, Tossed Salad Festival, Strawberry Festival) to promote the region’s competitiveness in the production of semi-temperate vegetables, strawberries, and cutflowers, among others; enhanced web-based information dissemination; market analysis and data collection that facilitates linkage between and among growers, traders, processors and other consumers.
Agri-Infrastructure and Facilities Development. Key production areas will be identified where the necessary support infrastructure facilities shall be established. Agri-infrastructure development will include farm-to-market roads, tramlines and bridges that adequately link production areas to the markets; post-harvest facilities like cold chains, storage and packaging centers, trading posts; and water systems/irrigation facilities that supply the year-round water requirements of production areas.
Agri-Research Development and Extension Services. Efforts shall be made on the generation and verification of productivity-enhancing technologies on priority commodities. Demonstration sites shall be established to showcase matured technologies and make them accessible to farmers and other stakeholders. Organic agriculture shall be promoted to support a healthy lifestyle and sustain the productivity of highland farms. Farmers shall be empowered by providing them with adequate trainings on resource mobilization, participatory planning and management.
Land Tenure Improvement and Development of Rural Communities. Agrarian reform and agriculture have always been inseparable because the former does not only refer to redistribution of lands. More importantly, it provides the support services needed by the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) to make their farmlands productive.
3.8.5 Programs and Projects
North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ). The NLAQ shall increase production of semi-temperate vegetables, fruits and cutflowers and assure their supply in the local and international markets.
Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Program. The GMA Program focuses on the development and production support of the region’s priority commodities. Support comes in the form of production and distribution of certified seeds; establishment of technology-demonstration sites; and installation of infrastructure facilities like water pumps, small farm reservoirs, and multi-purpose drying pavements.
Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP II). The project aims to reduce poverty in the indigenous upland communities of CAR. It introduces the value-added approach to agricultural development – an approach that links the producers to ready and premium markets. CHARMP II coverage is extended from CHARMP 1’s coverage of 3 provinces (Abra, Benguet, Mt. Province); 16 municipalities and 82 barangays to the entire region or 6 provinces, 37 municipalities, and 170 barangays in CAR. This expansion leads to more effective production areas for agriculture and fishery, hence a support to the agriculture sector’s goal of developing two million hectares of new agribusiness lands by 2010.
Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Program, Phase III (ARISP III). The ARISP III aims to improve the quality of life of the ARBs using the concepts of: (a) Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs), and (b) KALAHI Agrarian Reform Communities Zones (KARZones). The project components are: construction of irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads, bridges, potable water supply; ARC agrarian information and marketing center (AIM-C); and institutional development.
KALAHI ARCs Development Program for Upper Agno River Basin. The project is in line with the principle of sustainable development where ecological objectives are balanced with socio-economic objectives in the 6 ARCs covered.
Pump Priming Irrigation Project. The project involves construction of new irrigation projects and rehabilitation/restoration of existing irrigation systems in the region.
Development of ARCs in Marginal Areas. The project’s ultimate goal is to improve the living condition of the ARBs in Sappaac ARC in Bangued, Abra by giving them the necessary agri-infrastructure facilities and services.
Participatory Irrigation Development Project. The project involves the rehabilitation of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System and provide the water requirements of 15,258 hectare-service area. It also includes complete rehabilitation/modification of dilapidated and old irrigation, post-harvest and road facilities, and introduction of appropriate farm technologies.
Integrated Area Development Project for Apayao. The project aims to improve agricultural production in Apayao and have sufficient income for farmers; transform farmersu2019 organizations into self-reliant cooperatives; develop integrated farm model for 7 municipalities; introduce modern agricultural technologies; provide access to credit facilities; provide agri-infra facilities; and strengthen relationship among farmers.
Tramlines and Cable Car System in Benguet ARCs. The project will construct tramlines and cable cars instead of the conventional farm-to-market roads in Benguet ARCs to address the problem and accessibility and environmental protection of the areas. Agricultural areas covered by the CARP in the province are within mountain slopes which are extremely difficult to reach while a substantial span of these lands are also within the protected areas and critical watersheds thus restricting the construction of farm to market roads.