KIDAPAWAN CITY, Sept 9 (PNA) — The agriculture department in Central Mindanao is expecting more harvest of export-quality premium rice in the region in the coming months with the on-going expansion of production areas in parts of North Cotabato.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Dept. of Agriculture regional executive director, said farmers in Mlang, North Cotabato have increase its palay farms for the production of black rice and other colored, long grained and aromatic rice varieties.
The area being developed is 10 hectares.
Datukan said presently, Region 12 has around 50 hectares of palay areas that are mainly producing premium rice varieties for export.
Region 12, also known as SOCCSKSARGEN region, is composed of the provinces of North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Saranggani and the cities of Cotabato, Tacurong, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Gen. Santos.
In North Cotabato, the new plantation areas are located in M’lang, Tulunan, Banisilan and Arakan towns and parts of South Cotabato’s upper valley area.
“By the end of the year, our production area for premium rice will reach around 60 hectares and we’re continually pushing for its expansion in other areas within Region 12,” Datukan said.
The provinces of South and North Cotabato were earlier identified by DA-12 as viable expansion areas for premium rice production in the region.
Datukan also noted that the additional premium rice areas in North Cotabato are being developed by the M’lang-based Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative and assisted by DA-12.
Aside from premium rice, the cooperative is supporting the production of organic rice in 500 hectares of production areas in the towns of Tulunan and M’lang in North Cotabato and in Surallah and Sto. Niño in South Cotabato.
Region 12 has already shipped a total of 52.8 metric tons of premium rice to various international markets through DA’s rice export program since last May.
The region’s total rice shipments comprise nearly half of the country’s premium rice exports that reached 106.55 MT.
Last July 22, the Koronadal City-based Firmus Farm Services Providers’ Cooperative contributed 32 MT to the 45 MT of premium rice exported by the country to Singapore.
The shipment from the region comprised 15 MT of long grain rice produced by the group in South Cotabato’s upper valley area and 17 MT of “Dinorado” or aromatic rice from a farmers’ cooperative based in Banisilan and Arakan towns in North Cotabato.
On May 15 and June 16, DBMPC shipped P5.8 MT of black, brown and red rice to Hong Kong.
Due to high demand, the cooperative also exported 15 tons of organic black rice to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 6.
Datukan said the agency is currently targeting to export an additional 97 MT of premium rice before the end of the year to Russia, Italy, Middle East and the United States.
Datukan also assured the public that while the region is exporting rice, local supplies of various varieties remained stable.