CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – In the effort to further drum-up the region’s food production capacity, the Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao is eyeing Lala, Lanao del Norte as one of its prospected pilot areas for the implementation of DA’s Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2) Program in Northern Mindanao.

Lala accounted for 6,288 hectares of rice area in Lanao del Norte and the home of 53 DA-accredited and LGU-assisted Farmer Associations and Cooperatives (FCAs) engaged in rice farming.

In the last wet cropping season, Lala generated a total of 40,391 metric tons harvested palay.

“We have significantly facilitated the granting of numerous agricultural assistance to our farmers. Rice farmer associations in Lala are recipients of various agricultural inputs, farm machineries and equipment, and agricultural infrastructure projects from DA-10,” Dodirico Cuaresma, Lala Municipal Agriculturist said.

Given Lala’s potential as one of the region’s top rice producers, and the LGU’s strengthened support for agriculture, the town is prospectively identified as recipient of the F2C2 Program.

“The LGU of Lala vowed to continuously support our rice farmers, and we will be more than willing to be part of DA’s rice production projects in the region” Cuaresma added.

As the pioneering farm and fisheries clustering program in the country, the F2C2 is primarily geared towards increasing agricultural revenue in the region, by providing the agri-fishery sectors strategic access to market, resources and technologies assistance.

As a requirement, clustered F2C2 rice areas should reach a minimum of 100 hectares.

Each area should be adjacent to one another and located in the same municipality or congressional district.

In her part, Letecia Ditucalan, Lanao del Norte’s Provincial Agricultural Officer averred the province is highly welcoming and supportive of all DA’s projects in the province.

Looking forward to the F2C2 implementation, Ditucalan said “We will never say no to any agri development projects. As LGU, despite our limitations, we will be providing any support needed – technical support, coordination, to help implement the project”.

Ditucalan also shared that the provincial government is now gearing towards a more inclusive rice production program, by fostering both the lowland and highland rice areas in Lanao del Norte.

As the palay buying price in the province recently lowers due to peak harvest season, she disclosed the provincial government has been buying the farmers’ produce for the province’s Grains Processing Center.

She averred the palay were purchased at a price at least one peso higher than the prevailing farmgate price in assistance to the rice farmers.

PSA reported that Lanao del Norte ranked second after Bukidnon, in terms of rice area harvested in Northern Mindanao as of the second quarter of 2020.

The province contributed 32.2 percent of the region’s palay production for the period mentioned.

Pilot implementation of the F2C2 in Lanao del Norte required the clustering of identified farmer organizations, and consolidation of their production areas to form a network of specialized farm producers.

Favored FCAs will be provided financial support, scholarships, information and technology assistance aside from regular agricultural interventions, under the DA’s F2C2 Program.

These interventions are anticipated to improve the FCAs’ operations.

The DA-10 is now suiting-up for pilot implementation of the F2C2 in Northern Mindanao by identifying strategic areas for clustered and consolidated rice, corn and other grains, high value crops, livestock and organic agriculture production in the region.#(Azbie Talib)