Negros Occidental lacks pre- and post-harvest facilities and more of it should be built as the shortage of farm laborers is becoming one of the problems of the agriculture sector in the province, Provincial Agriculturist JaphetMasculino said.
“We need more pre- and post-harvest facilities for our farmers to ensure that their crops will not reduce in quality whenever the market needs it,” Masculino said in an interview with the DAILY STAR Monday.
Post-harvest facilities are a type of storage facility that lengthens the shelf-life of crops while pre-harvest is more of a laboratory preparation facility for transplanting, he said.
He said there is a post-harvest facility in Negros but it is not responsive to the market, adding that it needs to be reactivated and further upgraded to accommodate more crops.
“No one will buy the crops of our farmers if their quality is damaged, and there is much that is needed by the market, especially big companies that produce food and beverage products,” Masculino said.
He discussed the number of needs per ton of crops produced in the province during the Sugar Summit at Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod Citylast week.
Based on his presentation, there is a demand of 266,360.76 metric tons of yellow corn per year in the province that needs to be filled. Yellow corn is a main ingredient in creating feeds for swine and poultry.
In terms of cassava production, Neg. Occ. only produces 1,000 MT which is 1/3 of the Western Visayas production. However the requirement for Region-6 for cassava is 24,000 MT.
The coffee production demand in the country is 70,000 MT but only 30,000 MT can be supplied, Masculino also said.
Cacao production in the country is only at 10,000 MT which is 75 percent lower than the industry's demand of 50,000 MT per year.
“More investments in agriculture are needed for the farmers to earn more profit. We need to support them from production up to marketing of these crops,” he said, adding that more pre- and post-harvest facilities are also needed to address the shortage of farm workers in the province. * MLG
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