Tag Archives: agriculture

DTI pushes Mindanao as investment destination

The Philippine Star
By Louella Desiderio
July 8, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is urging investors to invest in Mindanao given huge opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.

The Trade department said Mindanao offers investment opportunities and a significant contributor to the country’s export performance and economic development.

“Mindanao is in a special position to provide solid support system to export growth and economic development,” Trade Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. was quoted as saying during a recent investment conference organized by the DTI through its Regional Operations Development Group in partnership with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

“The opportunities in Mindanao are so meaningful in this administration, government sectors work together and support priority in agriculture, agro-industrial food processing, manufacturing and even tourism,” he said.

Mindanao, he said, should be considered by investors interested in agriculture given the island group’s land area.

Manalo noted that eight of the top 10 provinces producing coconut which is a global favorite, are in Mindanao.
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He noted that coco coir and peat are traditional export favorites.

Value added products like desiccated coconut, virgin coconut oil, and coconut water also have strong demand from foreign markets.

Manalo said the coconut industry offers huge investment opportunity given rising consumer demand for coconut based food ingredients.

Apart from coconut, he said the carrageenan which is extracted from a variety of seaweeds, also offers investment opportunities.

“Carageenan has many uses and its main application is on food products where it is used primarily for its gellying and thickening properties. Seaweed production is an integral part of the Mindanao industry cluster,” he said.

Opportunities are likewise available in other tropical fruits like mangosteen, banana, pineapple and papaya, which all enjoy huge demand overseas.

The region, the DTI said, will also be a good investment destination for manufacturing and tourism.

Climate change not a big problem among Bukidnon farmers

The Philippine Star
Mereyll Kyla Irader
June 12, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Though typhoons are not considered a major problem in Bukidnon, calamities such as drought, pests and diseases did not spare the crops of farmers from damages.

When El Niño hit Bukidnon in 2003 and 2005, indemnity paid for drought reached the highest.

What the farmers did

Subsistence farmers have their share of traditional farming practices that served them well when drought hit the province. Among these are using organic fertilizer from manure and compost; observing proper timing in planting crops; using crop residues as mulch in vegetable gardens to conserve water; planting drought-tolerant crops; and constructing reservoir to collect rainwater.

Water-saving technologies like rainwater harvesting using small reservoirs, drip irrigation, shallow tube wells, and other irrigation development and services are present in Bukidnon.

Small farm reservoir (SFR) is an impounding structure that harvests rain and collects runoff. SFR provides irrigation for dry season crops and supplements water for wet season cropping. It also enables farmers to raise fish and grow livestock for food and additional income.

Drip irrigation is a process of applying irrigation water into the base of the plant like a leaking bucket. Minimal soil surface is wetted through this method; thus, amount of direct evaporation and excess percolation through the root zone will be reduced. Bananas are among crops which rely on drip irrigation in the province.

Shallow tube wells and irrigation development are commonly used for rice irrigation. In 2003, DA-Region 10 provided the province with shallow tube wells and irrigation development support.

Government initiatives

Government institutions in Bukidnon do not have explicitly labeled programs on climate change.

There are existing programs, however, undertaken to capacitate people to adapt on the impacts of climate change. Programs applied are on organic farming, diversified integrated farming systems, and water saving technologies for agriculture. On lean seasons, farming communities have alternative income sources.

For lowland rice production, the Sustainable System of Irrigated Agriculture (SSIA) Technology is applied. It employs intermittent water application in rice farming; applies organic fertilizers and pesticides as agricultural inputs; and follows prescribed crop management procedures.

Through SSIA, early transplanting and straight row planting at one plant per hill is required to enable seedlings to grow better in lesser competition. Also, it specifies the cropping calendar and lowers the water application requirement.

The Department of Agriculture-Region 10, through a study, modified SSIA and showed that the technology performs better during dry season because of the organic matter’s carry-over effect for the next cropping in a lower production cost.

Contour farming and diversified integrated farming systems resulting in better yield, and reduction of bacterial  wilt population  and water  runoff over monoculture  proved to be suitable technologies  for  upland and  hilly land farming. Runoffs are reduced in contour farming; thus, protecting the top soil against soil erosion. Top soil contains nutrients for plants and also serves as reservoir for soil water during dry periods.

Meanwhile, crop diversification augments the income of farmers as any crop, which grows well, can be tapped as another way to earn a living. An example for is the ipil-ipil tree which is used for firewood, charcoal as well as fruit trees, root crops, vegetables and other plants that are feed sources for livestock.

Another strategy is through organic farming where even marginal lands can be brought back to life as organic matter is essential for the sustainability of subsistence agriculture. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur are released in the decomposition stage, thus, supplying carbon and energy in the soil. Organic matter binds the soil mineral particles and improves the soil structure for moisture retention.

Through intervention of local government, agriculture input subsidies are given to farmers to increase agricultural production. In Valencia City, Bukidnon, an ordinance, which espouses sustainable agriculture through organic farming, was passed to provide assistance in farming communities. Through Valencia City Ordinance No. 2008-09, the city aims to stability of food supplies for its constituents.

Identifying existing strategies

All because of climate change, an agricultural province like Bukidnon is threatened of losing its productivity. As agriculture relies on climatic conditions in order to flourish, agricultural practices shall then cope with the climatic changes.

Unlabeled programs on climate change are already in place. These are on research, extension, policy information, subsidies and grants. However, these programs must be properly identified for efficient facilitation and employment.

With explicitly identified programs to address the phenomenon, it will be easier for subsistence farmers to apply techniques and adjust on the impacts. Hence, economic loss among the farming sector will be avoided.

Tax holidays to attract new investments

The Philippine Star
April 02, 2011

The Investment Priorities Plan for 2011 is off the press, so to speak, and is now up for approval in the Cabinet.

The priority projects include Agriculture, Ship Building, Low Cost Housing, Development of Indigenous Energy Sources, Infrastructure, Research & Development, Green Projects (in terms of manufacturing goods and efficient use of energy and natural resources), Tourism and Motor Vehicles. A special criterion has been included –this is Strategic Projects.

For the low-cost housing projects, the Board of Investment (BOI) lowered the cost per housing unit from P4 million to P2.5 million, only for purposes of qualifying under the BOI incentives scheme. For tourism projects, the BOI has considered projects which are otherwise not covered by the Tourism Development Act, which supported only tourism-related projects located in tourism zones. Now the agency is coordinating closely with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to identify worthy projects outside of the tourism zone, so this should be good news for developers who wish to qualify under the BOI laws.

Of course, motor vehicle development is a high priority in the 2011 IPP, and it’s high time we gave the auto industry this much-needed boost. I was in Thailand about a week ago for the all-new Ford Ranger launch and also for the Bangkok Motor Show. Much as I enjoyed the hospitality of my host, Ford Group Philippines, enjoyed Thai cuisine and their shopping, and found the Thais a very friendly people, I couldn’t help but feel pangs of regret that we have not achieved as much as the persevering and hardworking Thai people have in terms of the automobile industry. Thailand is now considered the hub as far as motor vehicle manufacturing is considered in the region, and for good reason. They are not plagued by excessive taxes, have no labor problems, and are not burdened by the high costs of doing business – permits and licenses, power costs, etc. The government has been very supportive of the auto industry and look where they are now.

For the motor vehicle criterion, the BOI is set to give incentives for parts and components locally fabricated as well as use of alternative sources of energy in the manufacture of these. What are these incentives?

The Executive Order (EO) that is still in effect grants zero duty on all importation of capital equipment for projects listed in the IPP. Sadly, this EO ends in June 2011, but BOI, has been pushing for another Executive Order to extend the effectivity of the zero duty on capital equipment. A public hearing has been set through the efforts of the Tariff Commission, but the President has yet to sign the EO.

Another incentive is the Income Tax Holiday (ITH) for these BOI-approved projects under the IPP. The duration of the ITH would depend on whether the project is a pioneering effort or not. If it is, the project proponents can enjoy as much as 6 years holiday. If this pioneering project generates foreign exchange earnings, it earns a bonus of one year in the tax holiday. If the project’s direct labor to capital equipment ration will not exceed $10,000/work force, another one year bonus is earned in the ITH. Further, if the project makes use of indigenous raw materials, about 50 percent or more, in the project, they stand to earn another year bonus in the ITH.

For non-pioneering projects, the Income Tax Holiday is good only for four years. In total, though, a project can only enjoy ITHs for not more than eight years.

This is covered by a Memorandum of Agreement between the BOI and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), so project proponents can run to the BOI if, while one’s project is still covered, you suddenly find a letter of authorization from the BIR in the mail informing you of an impending audit. The BOI promises to arm you with all the necessary documents to preempt the audit. The BOI will issue a certificate of ITH entitlement for all those qualified under their laws. However, BOI also reserves the right to validate the amounts claimed in the income tax returns of these projects and evaluate the full claims based on their own computations. The BOI annually forwards the list of companies/projects entitled to ITH based on a taxable year.

For 2011, the Board of Investments vows to be more strict and vigilant in granting income tax holidays, presumably because of some abusive companies who have used the BOI as a shield against the BIR. All companies/projects will be advised of the procedures they will have to comply with in order to avail of the ITH. Meanwhile, the BOI clarifies that a single company can have two or more projects listed with the BOi for purpose of availment of incentives. In 2009, for example, there were 844 projects listed, but only 699 companies. The year before that, 924 projects were approved, but only 780 companies were listed.

The BOI laments that some camps view these incentives as revenue foregone for the government. However, there is a fixed duration of these tax holidays, so after 4 to 8 years, these companies will have to pay their regular income taxes. Also, the projects are certain to generate employment for hundreds of thousands of our countrymen. For the 2011 IPP, BOI is targeting one million in employment. There is also the foreign exchange that will be generated by these projects (Note: export projects are automatically included, subject to procedures) and the country can certainly use the foreign exchange.
BUSINESS & LEISURE By Ray Butch Gamboa.

UN agency sets out to restore Liguasan marsh

MALU CADELINA MANAR /TJD,
GMANews.TV
12/11/2010

KIDAPAWAN CITY — The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has embarked on restoring the ecosystem of the Liguasan marsh in Maguindanao, possibly the country’s only remaining wetlands, through massive indigenous tree planting efforts.

The project, according to WFP deputy country director Asaka Nyangara, will help address climate change and its impact on world hunger. Effects of climate change, he stressed, pose risks to food, agriculture, and water supply — all of which are basic to human and animal survival.

The 200,000-hectare Liguasan marsh has at least 95 species of flora, including the African oil palm, tamlang (bamboo), kapok (silk cotton), and kling-a-sambulawan (striated bamboo). It is supposedly the biggest in Asia and believed to have vast deposits of methane gas and oil.

Abonawas Pendaliday, environment consultant of the local government unit (LGU) of Sultan sa Barongis, said that the deforestation of the Liguasan marsh has led to the death of many species of fish, trees, and flora and fauna.

“Residents here depend much on the marsh for their everyday living. But because of the continued cutting of trees and the influx of people, villagers here have very little harvest of fish, thus, depriving them of food,” said Pendaliday.

On Friday, Nyangara and other WFP officials went to Barangay Darampua in Sultan sa Barongis town, where they visited a nursery of more than a hundred thousand seedlings of endemic flora.

This was Nyangara’s second visit to the site since April.

The Liguasan marsh is located at the boundary of the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in southwest Mindanao.

The nursery project is funded by the WFP and is implemented by the LGU of Sultan sa Barongis through the Ligawasan Marsh Climate Change Lead Action Force.

As a community initiative, trees were planted by villagers in deforested areas around the marsh.

Meantime, reforestation projects in the northern portion of the marsh, particularly in Tulunan town in North Cotabato, are ongoing.

On Thursday, the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative council) of Tulunan approved a resolution granting authority to Tulunan mayor Lani Candolada to allocate funds amounting to P128,499 for the project.

The resolution was passed three months after Mayor Candolada entered a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 12 to implement the National Program Support for Environment Project, which is funded by the World Bank.

Tulunan, a third class municipality in North Cotabato, has at least four villages near Liguasan marsh, including Popoyon, Dongos, Galidan, and Tambak, which also need a massive reforestation.