ONION growers’ production in Mindanao will increase and the farmers’ livelihood will improve with the launching of the Onion Expansion Program.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the project is a collaboration between the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Mindanao onion growers.
DA Assistant Secretary James Layug said the program is seen as a strategic response to the elevated commodity prices witnessed in Luzon last year.
Layug also emphasized the program’s commitment to combating agricultural smuggling, a menace that has adversely impacted the local onion industry.
He underscored the initiative’s core objective of promoting local onion production, which the DA implements to eliminate the dependency on imports, fostering self-sufficiency and potentially transforming South Cotabato into an onion exporting hub.
Layug said the program is aligned with DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel’s directive to boost production and eliminate agricultural smuggling.
Data revealed a positive shift in the agricultural landscape, with agriculture’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rising from 6 percent to 9 percent this year, which observers said was a promising trend signaling the beginning of an agricultural evolution.
The Tupi Integrated Agriculture Cooperative (TIAC) and the Polo SN Farmers Association play pivotal roles in the program’s success, as highlighted during the launching of the onion program.
The event saw the participation of the Bureau of Plants Industry, DA-12 officials, DA attached bureaus and agencies, the Philippine Army, local government units, farmers cooperatives and various people’s organizations.