Hosted in CDOC, the 14th Nat’l. Veggie Congress gathered about a thousand from the various parts of the country with the end of view of augmenting the income and creating livelihood opportunities for high value crop farmers and stakeholders through staging a venue for an exchange of views on issues of the industry, share recommended vegetable farming practices and technologies, and forge market linkages. Leading the conduct of the Congress is Leandro H. Gazmin, ASec. for Agribiz and Mktg. of the DA (left). photo provided
Cagayan de Oro City — “We should all share a united vision of a competitive vegetable industry, producing and supplying the local demand with quality, diverse vegetables at affordable prices through sustainable production and equitable marketing systems,” urged Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala during the opening of the 14th National Vegetable Congress, held here in the city.
Said before a thousand, consisting of farmers, consolidators and traders, processors, retailers, academe and other high value crop stakeholders, which was rendered by Leandro H. Gazmin, Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing of the Department of Agriculture (DA), he emphasized the need for the veggie industry to assess how it has fared so far.
As the country envisions a competitive veggie industry, Secretary Alcala said that since he has taken helm as the DA chief, the department in partnership with other government institutions and the private sector has carried out its threefold mission to serve the purpose.
This includes, he detailed, stabilize supply by ensuring high quality and affordable vegetables throughout the year; provide quality support services to vegetable growers to enhance their competitiveness and sustainability; and expand overseas market for Philippine produced vegetables.
“We have provided necessary facilities for growth and development of the sector to include irrigation, post harvest facilities, credit, technologies, research and development investments and formulating macroeconomic policies,” the DA chief added.
For 2014, he reported that the agency has distributed vegetable seeds and planting materials, comprising about 19,000 kilograms of upland and lowland vegetable seeds, 69,000 kilograms of spices seeds and 71,000 pieces of indigenous planting materials throughout the country.
Added to the aforementioned, Sec. Alcala said that it has likewise established ‘Gulayan sa Paaralan’ projects in 8,328 schools and multi-hectare vegetable farms in military camps and prison facilities in the country.
Aligned to this year’s Congress theme: “Good Practices, Better Business for a Healthier ASEAN”, he further said that the DA has issued 215 certificates of pesticide analysis to exporters, paving the way for the export of 359 metric tons of okra valued at 18,615 USD.
With the showcase of strides in the high value crops industry, he also recognizes that apart from the rural infrastructure and post-harvest programs and projects of the DA that have contributed to enhancing the quality of agri-products from seed to table of consumers of vegetable products, it is also essential to address the inevitable challenges brought about climate change.
“We will strive to put up more automated weather stations (AWS) or gathering meteorological data on disasters like floods, more climate resilient farm roads and other rural infrastructure and more efficient systems for monitoring pests and diseases,” the aggie chief highlighted.
Activities lined-up in the Congress includes the exhibit of a demonstration farm, presentation of industry updates, the conduct of technical sessions, vegetable landing market encounter and market matching, among others.
Other than the abovesaid efforts to warrant the development of the veggie industry, Sec. Alcala underscored the need for the concerted efforts of all high value crop stakeholders.
“We only have to make sure that we are ready to do our individual and collective roles and responsibilities, as well,” he aptly ended.
Other prominent dignitaries present during the opening is Jennifer E. Remoquillo, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry and High Value Crops Development Program coordinator, Marcelino E. Remotigue, Philippine Vegetable Industry Development Board (PVIDB) President and Lealyn A. Ramos, DA-Regional Field Office 10 Regional Director.
Hosting the annual event is the DA and the NorMin Veggies Marketing Cooperative in partnership with the PVIDB, Xavier University – College of Agriculture, Department of Tourism, the Local Government Unit of Cagayan de Oro, Department of Trade and Industry, Systems Technology Institute (STI), agriculture and fishery councils and seed companies. # (JLOlson, DA-RFO 10)