THE Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 is encouraging the planting of high-value crops like okra but stressed that the region’s food security comes first.
Such initiative came after the country exported tons of okra to Japan in a bid to explore more market opportunities that can benefit the farmers.
“Okra is part of our lowland vegetable basket. We also distributed seedlings for that. However, those export-grade okras to Japan reached the point that their volume of production reached a certain level that made them able to export,” DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said.
Diputado said the region’s volume of production is sufficient for the local demand.
“It’s also part of our program where aside from helping the farmers in production, we will also help in marketing,” he said.
The DA 7 said they also linked farmer organizations to the business community to maintain the supply chain.
“This is so they can maximize their profits,” he said.
In Central Visayas, the DA 7 has been distributing seeds of high value crops to different cities and municipalities.
This includes cucumber, upo, kangkong, pole sitao, bell pepper, ampalaya, eggplant, squash, tomato, hot pepper, pechay and okra.
In Cebu, the agriculture department is currently rehabilitating mango trees located in Guadalupe, Carmen and Danao.
Recently, Agriculture Secretary William Dar and agri-preneurs, Jeffrey Fernandez and Rap Pelayo of Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise led the initial shipment of two tons of okra (lady finger) to Japan on Sept. 29, 2020.
“This is an indication that in spite of Covid-19, we are upping the game. Like our okra export to Japan, this is a significant development,” Dar said.
JelFarm, one of the country’s leading okra exporters, will be shipping about five tons daily as the harvest season begins. Come peak season, with full blast operations, it can ship an average of 13–15 tons every day.
About 300 farmers are involved in the production of the export-grade okra products that are harvested from different farms in 14 barangays of Tarlac.
The okras will be marketed in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya where the demand is very high. (JOB)