ARAKAN, NORTH COTABATO — A total of 100 Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program farmer-beneficiaries from the municipality of Arakan, North Cotabato received agricultural inputs on Organic Banana Bongolan Project during the turn-over ceremony held at Brgy. Meocan, Arakan last January 9, 2018.
Department of Agriculture – Region XII (DA RFO XII) Regional Executive Director (RED) Milagros C. Casis spearheaded the ceremonial distribution to farmers from barangays Ganatan, Sto Niño, Dallag, Allab, and Meocan, which are also known as the Tinanan Cluster.
The Philippines is known as a leading banana fruit producing country in the world. Playing a major role is Region XII, one of the biggest contributors in the country’s banana production, which is at 11.2% according to 2016 survey of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), True enough, the growing export demand for banana chips is being supplied by North Cotabato with its cultured balangon or bongolan Cavendish bananas.
The balangon or bongolan banana has a rather slender stem which has to be supported in order to carry its fruits. It produces medium-sized bunches having 6 – 12 hands that comes with 12 – 20 fingers per hand. When the fruit is ripe, it is light green to greenish yellow, medium in thickness, and peels off readily. The pulp is soft, fine-textured, sweet, and deliciously aromatic.
True to the SAAD promise to help farmers venture on bongolan banana, the SAAD North Cotabato turned over a more than P1.3 Million banana project for 100 farmer-beneficiaries. The project targets to plant the local banana on one-hectare land per beneficiary. The project also composed of farm tools, such as shovel, spade, deleafing knife, desuckering bar, lagaraw, sanggot, sharpening tools, knapsack sprayers, 21,000 banana corms, 260 sacks vermicast fertilizer, 400 kg twine for propping, and five (5) power sprayers.
Also present in the event are Arakan Mayor Rene Rubino, Sangguniang Bayan members, Office of Provincial Agriculturist staff, Office of Municipal Agriculturist staff, and SAAD North Cotabato Provincial Coordinator Jerry Tingson.
North Cotabato, having a 44.8% poverty incidence rate among families based on the 2012 poverty report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), was chosen as one of the 2017 priority provinces of the SAAD Program.
Writer: Jemiema Arro, SAAD Communications Officer