Department of Agriculture to help transform Negros into ‘vegetable salad bowl’
Northern Luzon need not be the only major source of greens in the country. An abundance of vegetables can be grown in the Visayas, particularly in the Negros Islands, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The agriculture department is teaming up with local officials and farmers in the Negros Islands to transform its semi-temperate areas into vegetable salad bowls that would serve the needs of Visayan cities.
The department would embark on an irrigation project for 1,500 hectares of farmland in the area in 2012, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
Alcala, in particular, cited the towns of Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental as those with potential for turning into so-called vegetable salad bowls.
“There is a large potential for organic vegetable production in these areas, as well as for upland rice, coffee, cacao, tea, dairy and for small ruminants,” Alcala said in a statement.
Don Salvador Benedicto is located in the mountainous regions northeast of Negros Island. It has a semi-temperate climate and has temperatures ranging from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius. It has been dubbed the “summer capital” of the island.
Farmers in the area have grown lettuce, cabbage, sayote, potatoes and tomatoes, commonly grown in northern Luzon.
A Korean company has also put up a vegetable farm in the area to serve Korean restaurants in the Visayas, according to town Mayor Laurence Dela Cruz.
Canlaon City, on the other hand, is located at the eastern foot plain of Mount Kanlaon, and sits at the boundary that divides Negros Island.
Alcala said that in Don Salvador Benedicto, the agriculture department would help farmers in the production of coffee, cacao and tea as well.
He also provided the town with two hand tractors, two threshers, five carabaos, two flatbed dryers, coffee and cacao seedlings, and even college scholarship grants for 10 students who wish to study agriculture, fishery and related courses.
In Canlaon, the agriculture department would team up with local politicians to expand and modernize the farm trading center, provide a truck and establish a training center for upland rice, coffee and vegetables. They would also put up a P5-million tissue culture laboratory.
Alcala also said he would provide five shallow tube wells, five carabaos, two tractors, two flatbed dryers and 10 scholarship grants to the city.
The agriculture department would also train farmers on the production and marketing of semi-temperate vegetables and other products.
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