NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Aiming to manage and fully develop the 16,232.8 hectares (has.) of updated potential corn areas, the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) proposed to purchase farm machinery to boost corn production and sustain food sufficiency level in the province of Bohol.
Marjoe Rey Labonite, Head-Research and Agri-Support Services (RASS) Division, OPA and Provincial Corn Coordinator Leon M. Parac, Jr., said that the provincial government is determined to acquire 10 units 4WD 90HP tractors, 10 units Recirculating Dryers, 10 units corn Shellers, 5 units Flat-Bed Dryers, 5 units Dump Trailers, 5 units Combine Harvesters, and 2 units of 6-Wheeler Elf Truck to be rented by the 13 towns which are considered as corn cluster areas namely: Anda, Alicia, Danao, Sagbayan, Carmen, San Miguel, Dagohoy, Sierra-Bullones, Trinidad, Ubay, Dimiao, Valencia and Mabini.
Labonite and Parac said these 13 municipalities have only 29 units of 4WD 90HP tractors of which Ubay and Sagbayan have six each; San Miguel and Trinidad (three each); Danao, Dagohoy, and Dimiao (two each); while Alicia, Anda, Carmen, Sierra-Bullones, and Valencia have one tractor each.
These corn cluster areas have 9, 254.8 has. of updated potential corn areas which supposed to have at least 40 units to capacitate their farm machinery program, they said.
The project is under the Advanced Rural Transformation (ART) Corn Technology 100 of Gov. Arthur C. Yap which was officially launched last July 2, 2020, in Ubojan, Sagbayan, Bohol participated by the local officials led by Sagbayan Mayor Restituto Suarez III and Second District Board Member FransGelaine Garcia simultaneous with the distribution of corn seeds to the farmers of the town.
The ART Corn Technology 100 strongly encouraged the corn farmers to plant hybrid corn which has good yield performance up to five tons per hectares which is more advantageous compared to traditional corn variety which has a yield performance from two to three tons per hectares.
CORN AREAS PLANTED
Parac said that based on records at the OPA as reported by the corn technicians, Bohol has only 2,360 has. planted with the different varieties of corn starting April to June 2020: 1,342 has. are planted with Open-Pollinated Variety (OPV), 542 has. (traditional variety), 464 has. (hybrid) and 11 has. (sweet corn variety).
These areas planted could have been increased if the data from the eight municipalities with no corn technicians namely: Alburquerque, Lila, Baclayon, Loay, Tubigon, Calape, Loboc and Panglao have reported and consolidated.
With regards to the stocks of corn in the province, last March during the harvesting period, Bohol had produced 2,723.57 sacks of corn grits that would only last for 7.96 days as the daily consumption of Boholanos of corn is 342 sacks.
Parac disclosed that corn farmers are in need of farm machinery, post-harvest facilities, corn seeds (hybrid, conventional hybrid, open-pollinated variety) and fertilizers.
He said the province has corn seeds program wherein the distributions have already been started, but not enough for the needed requirements among corn farmers.
For this year, the PGBh has only 443 sacks of corn seeds of which 243 from the supplemental budget and the 200 sacks from the regular budget purchases. (Atoy Cosap)