June 23, 2024

The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera is focusing on three projects that are uniquely-Cordilleran in support of the region’s economic development.

DA-Cordillera Executive Director Cameron Odsey said the agency is capitalizing on the region’s Arabica coffee and heirloom rice, two crops that are in demand in the local and international markets.

For the Arabica coffee, Odsey said the agency is updating its production plans to expand the areas planted to coffee and increase the yield of coffee trees.

“The Cordillera produces the best Arabica coffee as proven in various cupping competitions. We are updating our plans on coffee production,” he said.

In the 2013 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, 6,695 hectares are planted to various variety of coffee trees, with a production yield of 0.6 metric tons per hectare and 0.3 kilos per tree.

Aside from Arabica coffee, Odsey said the DA intends to expand the plantation areas for heirloom rice, first to produce enough volume for the communities where these varieties are grown and for export.

Cordillera, he said, is the only region that produces heirloom or traditional rice varieties claimed to have anti-oxidants, making them popular in the local and international market.

“It would be a great accomplishment if we are able to expand the production areas to ensure rice sufficiency for the communities that produce traditional rice, which are in demand both in the local and international markets,” he said.

Odsey added the DA will revive its support to farmers’ groups that export heirloom rice, a livelihood opportunity that was severely affected when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

To further support highland agriculture, Odsey said the sub-committee on agriculture of the Regional Development Council Economic Development Committee formulated a watershed management plan with communities sharing boundaries as main players.

He said indigenous communities sharing the watershed boundaries in Kalinga, Abra, and Mountain Province were tapped for the integrated watershed management plan so they can be at forefront of protecting their common watershed area. The plan was submitted to the RDC for endorsement to the national government. – Jane B. Cadalig