Tawi-Tawi celebrates rich harvest of food crops
Bongao, Tawi-Tawi (23 February) -- Tawi-Tawi celebrated Monday, the bountiful harvest of food crops in the province in the first-ever "Cassava and Banana Harvest Festival" here in the province's capital town.
Despite its being on the list of the poorest provinces in the country, Gov. Sadikul Sahali insists that food flourishes in the province and the people here never run out of something to eat as amplified in the festival's theme, "Nobody?Nobody Goes Hungry in Tawi-Tawi."
Unknown to many, Tawi-Tawi, famed for its massive seaweeds production and rich marine resource, has been experiencing surplus production of cassava ? a staple here and the neighboring provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
The more than 19,000 hectares of arable land planted with cassava in the province produce close to 170,000 metric tons of harvest in a year.
Sangkula Tindick, the provincial agricultural officer, puts the province's cassava surplus at around 40%. Some of which end up in markets in Sabah, which is just few hours from Tawi-Tawi, and even in the municipality of Siasi in Sulu.
He said the province has been consistently producing excessive supply of cassava for the last 7 to 10 years now when they began advocating the farming of the said crop and fruit trees such as mango throughout the province. Their office provided trainings and seedlings to the farmers.
Almost all of the major islands in the province have their cultivated lands planted with cassava, banana or mango, according to Tindick, adding that these lands used to be idle.
Even the famous Turtle Island was not taken out of the picture. The provincial agriculture office has launched a project few years back in the island, which Tindick dubbed as the "greening" of Turtle Island, encouraging locals to plant cassava and mango trees.
Their campaign has paid off really well, said Tindick. Now, the province's people and economy will not just be relying on marine resource but on the similarly rich soil as well, he said. (BPI-ARMM/PIA9-BST) [top]