DA: Planting ‘high-value’ crops offers sustainable income

·2 min read

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) will continue to encourage more farmers to shift to crops that are more sturdy, resilient and with ready markets.

This after the agency logged huge earnings in high-value crops such as banana and pineapple as well as other traditional and emerging high-value crops that have export potentials.

The country’s banana exports reached roughly US$920 million from January to October 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority from $1.64 billion in 2020. Exports of pineapple products (canned, juice, concentrates) also amounted to more than $300 million during the same period last month.

“We enjoy a comparative advantage in banana and pineapple, and for this reason, we at the DA invest in the development of the high-value crops subsector through our High Value Crops Development Program Undoubtedly, high-value crops can provide farmers and their families, entrepreneurs and other players in the agriculture value chain sustainable income,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a statement.

“This year, the ‘OneDA Family’ will continue to encourage more farmers to shift to crops that are more sturdy, resilient, and with ready market, thus more profitable. This in addition to providing them production support, post-harvest facilities, and value-adding mechanisms to make Philippine farm and fishery products more globally competitive,” he added.

The DA vowed it will strive harder to maintain the country’s position as a major exporter of banana by “containing the ‘Panama disease,’ and exploring more markets for pineapple.”

It will also increase its efforts in promoting crops with high export potentials like mango, cacao, coffee, rubber and okra.

Dar said the country looks forward to more exports of fresh Cavendish bananas to Japan, as it recently lifted the 100 percent mandatory testing for Philippine banana exports.

To date, the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry said there are 82 Philippine companies exempted from 100 percent inspection, after they have shown high level of compliance to the set audit criteria and all phytosanitary requirements imposed by Japan.

Last year, the Philippines also successfully penetrated the South Korean market for fresh okra, benefiting thousands of farmers in Luzon. This is in addition to the existing Japanese market for “lady fingers,” which serve as a side dish or salad ingredient.

Besides courting farmers to plant more high-value crops, Dar said the DA will also continue to forge partnerships with the private sector, fruit and vegetable industry associations, and farmers’ groups to expand and explore other potential export markets, and come up with more innovative and attractive packaging and marketing strategies.

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