Press Release: DA sets up asparagus facility in GenSan,commits P10M for FMRs
by Marjorie M. Arriola - Friday, 9 September 2011, 08:27 AM
Office of the Secretary
Elliptical Rd., Diliman, Quezon City

Press Release
September 8, 2011

DA sets up asparagus facility in GenSan, commits P10M for FMRs

The Department of Agriculture is constructing a P3.75-million asparagus packing facility at Barangay San Jose, in General Santos City (GenSan), in a bid to transform the area and the SOCSKSARGEN region into a major high value crop producer, on top of its distinction as the ‘tuna capital’ of the Philippines.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and GenSan Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio led on September 1, 2011 the ceremonial groundbreaking of the facility that will benefit 60 farmer-members of the Greenland Asparagus Producers Multipurpose Cooperative (GAPMC), funded by the DA’s High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR).

Sec. Alcala also committed to allot P10 million for the construction of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) next year, among other interventions to transform GenSan into a major producer of high value crops, including onions and garlic.

The GAPMC farmer-members, led by their chairman Roger Pascual, currently plant a total of 15 hectares, where they harvest an average of 300 to 400 kilos of asparagus shoots daily, which are sorted and packed in a makeshift hut. The GAPMC was organized in 2008. Pascual said most of them were former contract growers of Marsman-Drysdale Agriventures, Inc.

With the new packing facility, which will be completed by end of October, Pascual said the GAPMC would be able to double their capacity of up to 800 kilos per day. Currently they supply major supermarkets, restaurants and hotels in Metro Manila.

“I would therefore like to see farmers here in General Santos City to improve their quality of life in the next one and a half years,” Sec. Alcala said during the simple groundbreaking ceremony.

He thus encouraged the GAPMC farmer-members to expand their respective area planted to asparagus. He also urged them to consider planting other suitable crops like onions and garlic, as GenSan and other areas in SOCSKSARGEN or Region 12 have fertilize soil and favorable weather condition year-round.

Sec. Alcala instructed DA-Region 12 director Amelia Datukan to look at an initial area of at least 100 hectares that could be planted to onions and garlic next year.

GAPMC chairman Pascual said in GenSan alone there are about 5,000 hectares that could be planted to high value crops.

Sec. Alcala also instructed regional officials of the National Irrigation Administration to undertake appropriate irrigation projects to support the year-round production of high value crops.

He also instructed the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research to assess the potential of processing and canning asparagus for domestic and export markets.

For its part, the DA-NABCOR will help the GAPMC to link directly with institutional buyers and assist the group in their marketing activities.

While in GenSan, Sec. Alcala also chaired the 2nd SOCSKARGEN area development project (ADP) board meeting, where updates were presented on the implementation of a regional integrated food security program, and several agri-infrastructure projects and support services in the four provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City.

Among the existing projects discussed during the meeting — which was also attended by Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez — were the implementation of the General Santos City airport master development plan, and respective improvements of Makar Wharf and Glan Port.

The SOCSKSARGEN board also tackled several proposed projects that include the construction of three major road networks, abattoir, integrated transport and food terminal, and a grains center with bulk handling facility, and a proposed legislation declaring Mt. Matutum as a protected area.

The following day (September 2), Sec. Alcala represented President Benigno S. Aquino III as guest of honor and keynote speaker at the 13th National Tuna Congress, attended by about 500 delegates, including dozens of foreign participants from the USA, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

For his part, Sec. Alcala also discussed the prospects of high value aquaculture and mariculture as alternatives to capture fisheries, and possible public-private partnership fishery projects.# # #(Adam Borja/DA Information Service)


DA-Region 12 Dir. Amalia Datukan – CP 0922-8350523
SOCSKSARGEN ADP Dir. Ginalyn Cachuela – 0921-6331688
DA-BFAR Dir. Asis Perez – CP 0922-8100463
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