Home / Politics / Manny Piñol’s Biyaheng Bukid in Luzon, Cagayan Valley Hopes For Food Sufficiency


{DISCLAIMER: The following article is written by Manny Piñol in his Facebook page.}

Biyaheng Bukid Luzon
By Manny Piñol

Manny Piñol in aparri

You would realize how wide the Cagayan Valley is when you view it from the air but you would never know how rich it is unless you actually travel through the vast expanse.

The Biyaheng Bukid team traveled down from Ifugao Sunday morning and reached Nueva Viscaya just in time for lunch.

From there, I started another leg of the journey which took me to three of the five provinces of the Cagayan Valley Region which includes the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Viscaya, Isabela, Cagayan Valley and Batanes which is composed of several islands north of Luzon near Taiwan.

byaheng bukid luzon cagayan valley

With the mighty Cagayan River, the longest in the country, providing the much needed water for agriculture, the region is the second biggest rice producer and the top corn producer in the country.
But if you think that the region has already reached its full potentials as a food production area, you are dead wrong.

As I traveled across the region, I saw the still untapped vast potentials for rice and corn production.

At least 50,000 hectares of rice lands are without irrigation facilities while another 10,000 hectares could still be developed into rice farms.

These areas alone could produce at least 300,000 metric tons of rice and greatly reduce the annual rice shortage of 1.8-million metric tons.

corn rice planter in cagayan valley

Corn farming and other grains production vital to a competitive livestock industry in the Luzon area still need a lot of support.

There is a huge corn processing facility in Mercedes Isabela, the Mindanao Grains Centre which is reputedly the biggest in South East Asia, but the facility is operating way below its capacity because of the lack of supply.

Given the abundant raw materials for animal feeds, livestock is another exciting opportunity for farmers in the region.

I travelled up north to Aparri, Cagayan which is known to be the northernmost tip of the island of Luzon and saw its potentials for fisheries but its old port reportedly used even during the Galleon Trade of the Spanish era is no longer operational.

manny pino in aparri byaheng bukid

The mouth of the Cagayan River which splits Aparri into two is heavily silted preventing fishing boats from docking and causing a back flow to the agricultural areas during the rainy season.

There are challenges which must be addressed and these include:

1. Improved irrigation facilities including the construction of small water impounding and large pumps to draw water from the Cagayan River to serve the rice fields which are not irrigated are needed;
2. Water pumps, technically called Shallow Tube Wells (STW) are needed by the small farmers to provide water to their farms during the dry season to ensure double cropping;
3. Calamity assistance in the form of seeds, fertilizers and inputs is needed by the small farmers to be able to recover from the El Niño;
4. A sustainable credit and financing scheme for the small farmers must be designed to allow farmers access to the much needed funding during the planting season;
5. Farm mechanization is a must to enable farmers to prepare the fields faster and simultaneously, plant rice and corn using mechanized planters and harvest the products also using mechanized harvesters and pickers.

These are the few things that I stored in my mind as the team crossed the bridge that brought us to the Ilocandia for another leg of the nation-wide journey to actually see for myself the realities confronting our farmers and fisherfolk on the ground.



About the author: Baroy


Baroy loves to travel around the Philippines. He loves gizmos and toys. He is a social media marketing specialist and also a contributor for Cebu and Davao blog.


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