Don't just produce, market your products too, DA Sec reminds Aklan farmers
by Venus G. Villanueva
Numancia, Aklan (4 September) -- For Aklan farmers to earn more, they should not only focus on production. They must also use post harvest and storage facilities to preserve and protect their produce, and market these themselves – for the money is in the markets.
This was Department of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap's message to Aklan farmers and fishermen in a dialogue facilitated by the Agricultural Training Institute during his recent visit to Aklan held at Numancia Agri-Aqua Techno-Demo Farm.
Sec. Yap said the government is now focusing more on preservation of farmers' produce through the National Post Harvest Program so they could earn more.
"If your rice or corn is dried well, then it is of good quality and instead of earning just P7.00 per kilo, you could sell a kilo in the market for P11.00 or P12.00 pesos", Yap told the farmers.
Yap also invited the farmers that if they would like to market their farm products in Manila, there are now 9 Bagsakan Centers open for their produce.
"If you have products in Aklan you wish to sell in Manila, tell us. We will give you a free space in our Bagsakan Centers. You bring your produce through the RORO, we will provide you food link stickers so your truck carrying your goods goes straight to the market," Yap said.
"The way I see it however, you don't have to market your products to Manila. Here in the Visayas alone, your produce will already be consumed. Boracay, for instance, gets its lettuce supply from Baguio. Green peppers come from other provinces. Why can't you plant these in Aklan?" Yap challenged the farmers, urging them instead to supply the needs of their own region.
Yap also said that as Aklan has a small area for farming, farmers should focus more on high-value crops. He said there is money in cut flowers and vegetables if the right markets are found.
"Seafoods in Aklan are also of good quality. Your prawns and crabs are bigger, and you have special shells here not found in other provinces, and you can find markets for these in Bohol and Cebu," Yap told the fisherfolks present.
"Let's do business, not just production," Yap emphasized.
Sec. Yap ended his dialogue by awarding Quick Turn-Around (QTA) seeds and drum seeder to the different farmers' groups in the province, and personally handing the Certificate of Recognition Award to Nadya Patricia Sauza, an Aklanon student who made an exceptional investigatory project on the viability of producing biodiesel fuel from animal fats.
Aside from meeting Aklan farmers and fishermen, Sec. Yap visited Aklan to witness the unveiling of Cardinal Jaime L. Sin's statue in new Washington, Aklan. Sec. Yap said Cardinal Sin was his Father Confessor during his school days at Xavier School. (PIA) [top]