Davao Norte town holds rice festival
by JMD Abangan
B.E. DUJALI (7 October) -- From palay to all sorts of rice delicacies, the 6th class municipality of Braulio E. Dujali showed off its bounty of the Philippine's staple food during the recently held 1st Rice Festival.
While nearby municipalities of Davao del Norte have converted rice fields into banana plantations, B.E. Dujali is gearing towards becoming the rice granary of organic rice bearing a label "Guaranteed Safe Food," ready for commercial distribution
Addressing a crowd of well-wishers for a sustainable organic farming, Municipal Mayor Gregorio S. Facula cited such agri-business endeavor as his town's contribution to the national government's thrust of ensuring food security and keeping Filipinos healthy.
Vast tracts of land covering almost 90 percent of Dujali's 9,100 hectares land area are devoted to rice farming.
Overflowing with rice, Dujali produces an estimated 213,000 cavans of palay annually, 26,500 which are organically grown while 190,000 are produced in a conventional way.
Pegging milling recovery at 64 percent, Facula said his town is making more than 279,000 sacks of rice every year.
Basing on an estimated consumption needs of 103 kilos per person each year, Dujali is estimated to consume only about 40,000 sacks of rice annually, leaving more than 200,000 in surplus, Facula said.
Pursuing a vision of becoming a fully developed agricultural town, rice farmers of this 8th year old town have adopted integrated pest management, using organic materials as herbicides and insecticides.
Instead of throwing away rice stalks and rice hulks, farmers make use of them as organic fertilizer.
"Mao kini ang among kaakuhan sa kinaiyahan, nga dili mogamit ug chemicals. (This is our dedication to environment that we will not use chemicals.)," Facula said.
This cropping season, Dujali has devoted around 250 hectares to organic farming but it is expected to double its planting area for "nature farming" next year due to high demand for chemical-free rice supply.
Facula bared that Dujali's organic rice supply has a ready market waiting each cropping season that it can no longer reach major supermarkets in Davao City.
The municipal government of Dujali intends to sustain through generations its organic rice farming industry through passing a resolution declaring every 5th day of October as Dujali Rice Festival featuring its organically grown rice.
This towns organic rice farming has taken off with the infrastructure support of the Mindanao Sustainable Settlement Area Development (MinSSAD) program of the Department of Agrarian Reform.
MinSSAD Deputy National Coordinator Benjamin de Vera in the same occasion said Dujali will get three warehouse projects other than the 19 infrastructure projects already in placed, in support of the town's rice industry.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director General for Mindanao Efren F. Elbanbuena of the Philippine Information Agency encouraged rice farming stakeholders of Dujali to venture into value-added businesses out of palay production.
"I develop nato ang tanang produkto gikan sa palay. If possible you file for a property rights that Rice Festival is being held annually only in Dujali," Elbanbuena said. (PIA) [top]