SORSOGON CITY, August 15 (PIA) – The province of Sorsogon through the Office of the Provincial Agriculture will establish a Pili Orchard by the year 2020 covering a 30 hectares of land under the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).
PRDP is a community-based national government platform for a modern and climate-smart agriculture implemented through partnerships with Local Government Units (LGUs) and agri-fishery stakeholders.
In Sorsogon, Pili was identified as the top priority commodity among the three commodities namely pili, coconut and seaweeds that are potential for achieving the PRDP goal. Pili along with seaweeds were endorsed by the Provincial Development Council and was included in the Provincial Investment Plan (PIP).
Through the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), a Priority Commodity Matrix was prepared with Pili topping the four criteria: sustainability, market potential, impact on the poor and number of growers/producers in the area.
Provincial Agriculture Office Farm Superintendent Steven Garcia in an interview at “Konsumidor, Aramon Mo” radio program hosted by DTI and PIA, said that the program is in line with realizing goals of improved food security, increased incomes, climate resiliency and enhanced policy environment and governance as set out in the Philippine Development Program 2011-2016. But the initial 5-year PRDP program which is supposed to end this year is extended until 2020.
“PRDP’s full implementation in the province actually started in 2015 and so far, a value chain analysis and I-plan component of pili commodity have been prepared, and what we want to achieve is an enormous production of the raw material to sustain the pili industry,” Garcia said.
The PRDP’s thrust to develop a more market-oriented and climate resilient agriculture and fishery sector in the targeted program areas is being implemented through four program components namely: Investments for AFMP Planning at the Local and National Levels (I-PLAN), Intensified Building-Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD), Investments for Rural Enterprises and Agri-Fishery Productivity (I-REAP), and Support to Program Implementation (I-SUPPORT).
Garcia disclosed that although Sorsogon has been a popular source of a loftier variety of pili, the province cannot mention an established pili orchard. “What we have here are patchy areas where pili trees are planted, and the only way to address this is to establish a pili orchard in the province of Sorsogon, at least 30 hectares by the year 2020” he added.
To realize the target, Garcia called on land owners in Sorsogon to lend their one-hectare land and partner with the provincial government for pili planting and growing. “The provincial government will provide for the fencing, grafted pili seedlings, farm implements, technology and other technical assistance that the land owner would need as counterpart. The trees will be geo-tagged and will closely be monitored by the personnel of the agriculture office for two years using a state-of-the art monitoring system,” he said.
The land owner, on the other hand, will be responsible for the fencing works and maintenance of the orchard for two years. He must also be willing to enter into a MOA, indicating further that in the future they would allow researchers to have an access to the orchard to conduct study, and likewise, allow agriculture personnel to monitor and evaluate the status of the orchard.
“The pili tree and its harvest will solely belong to the land owner,” Garcia added.
A budget of P500,000.00 is allocated this year to vie for potential sites to establish two orchards, one each from the 1st and 2nd district of the province. “Next year, another P1-M will be earmarked for the establishment of another four orchards, equally divided to two districts of Sorsogon,” Garcia also said. (MAL/BAR-PIA5/Sorsogon)