BACOLOD CITY – The Province of Negros Occidental and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) are set to sign a technical cooperation agreement for the sharing of farm technologies.
Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, chairperson of MinDA, met with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson at the Provincial Capitol here on Monday to discuss areas where both entities can work together.
“In my conversation with the governor, we agreed to forge a memorandum of technical cooperation,” Piñol said in an interview with Capitol reporters.
“We’re very interested in learning new farming technologies in Negros Occidental, specifically your rice-sugarcane multi-cropping. It’s something that we do not have in Mindanao,” he added.
Piñol said he has asked Negros Occidental Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino to teach their farmers how to plant rice alongside sugarcane, which he considers an exciting and admirable program.
In return, the MinDA will offer its technology on cattle and livestock production, provide planting materials for hybrid coconut, avocado and other fruits, and share knowledge on silage making, he said.
Piñol, a former Agriculture Secretary, said the country’s main problem is food production, but the Filipinos cannot always rely on imported food because the supply chain can be disrupted by a pandemic like the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and geopolitical considerations.
“We have to produce our own food. We cannot rely on other countries for our food supply, it’s totally unwise. Besides, we have the capability to be a self- sufficient country in food production. I’m happy that Governor Bong Lacson has the same perspective as I do. We’re in this together. We’re coming back to sign the memorandum of technical cooperation,” he added.
He said MinDA is engaging with Auke Idzenga, founder of the Bacolod-based Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc., for the supply of lemongrass oil and adoption of the hydraulic ram pump water technology in Mindanao.
During his visit, Piñol was joined by engineer Rudy Cane, younger brother of Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr., who also works on processing lemongrass into essential oil. (PNA)