The 20th annual Ubi Festival opened yesterday with highlights on the significance of getting young hands to till the lands.
No less than Department of Agriculture Sec. William Dar graced the ribbon-cutting to signal the start of the week-long event yesterday morning at the exhibit area at the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center (BAPC) beside the Tagbilaran City Hall.
The festival revolves around the theme, “Ang kabatan-onang Bol-anon atong dasigun, aron ang industriya sa Ubi magpadayon, ug Turismo mauswagon”.
On display in the booths are various ubi products that reflect the historical, social and economic impact of the ubi industry in Bohol.
“Delectable and delicious ubi products have put Bohol in the world map of food tourism as among the prime commodities that gives rise to various fresh and ubi processed productsm,” according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
During the opening ceremony, agriculture officials turned over agri-machineries, inputs, and projects to beneficiaries.
Agriculture officials also signed the agreement for the establishment of soils and water laboratory and extension services in Carmen; and the agreements for Entrepreneurial Gulayan sa Paaralan and Treewardship programs.
For his part, elected governor Arthur Yap issued a statement yesterday on the visit of Agriculture Secretary William Dar in lieu of his absence at the event as he was attending a JICA and World Bank Training Program.
“It is with a sense of honor that we welcomed today the visit of Sec. William Dar to Bohol. Though I was not able to personally welcome Sec. Dar in Bohol due to my commitments to join a JICA and World Bank Training Program, I was able to personally talk to Sec. Dar this morning to thank him for his visit,” Yap said.
The provincial government emphasizes three highlights of the programs being worked out through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) and the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV).
One is the establishment of a Bohol Soil and Water Center which will serve as a focal center for addressing the twin and critical issues of water availability and state of soil conditions for food security in Bohol.
The other is addressing the milk needs of 25,000 undernourished Bol-anon children by 2022 through increasing local milk producing capability of Bol-anon livestock through the Ubay Stock Farm, the Philippine Carabao Center and the National Dairy Authority.
Third is increasing rice production in Bohol through the Advanced Rice Technology Program which partners with the DA’s RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund) identified agencies to increase rice production in Bohol beyond the national average yields surveyed for Bohol.
“Sec. Dar and I do not only share the honor of having led the Department of Agriculture as he did before during the Estrada Presidency and now heads again, but we are both of the philosophy that farmers must produce profitably,” Yap said.
Yap pointed out that it would be useless for farmers to only focus on increasing their produce, yet losing in some aspects such as assured return of investment.
“It does Philippine Agriculture no good if farmers focus on increased production at a loss to them. This is the reason why Bohol is now pursuing a program that not only focuses on assisting farmer families plant and produce through managed production programs, but through a guaranteed “buy-back” programs,” Yap explained.
This endeavour entails proper training of farmers to score in the yield per hectare.
“Farmers, when properly trained, can add significantly to their output, but key to this is providing our farmers a market and a fair price that will ensure that they stay in agriculture. Not to be overlooked is the philosophy that we must use our agriculture and fishery to provide a gastronomic experience to support our tourism economy, while ensuring food security for our people,” Yap pointed out.